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Midway Drive-In celebrates 66th season in Oswego County

Cars and cinema came together for the iconic American pastime known as drive-in movie theaters. In the 1950s, 25 percent of movie theaters were drive-ins. Today, that number stands at just 1.5 percent, according to National Association of Theatre Owners.
Minetto (WSYR-TV) - Cars and cinema came together for the iconic American pastime known as drive-in movie theaters. In the 1950s, 25 percent of movie theaters were drive-ins. Today, that number stands at just 1.5 percent, according to National Association of Theatre Owners.

Midway Drive-In in the town of Minetto has gone digital to keep up with the changing times.

"It’s the event and comradery. You come out here and it looks like a park on a Saturday night with people sitting outside their cars," said Midway Drive-In owner John Nagelschmidt.

While the Midway celebrates its 66th season, Nagelschmidt says it's becoming more costly to keep the drive-in theatre alive.

The industry has changed and drive-ins are converting to digital projectors because Hollywood productions are only distributing digital products to outdoor theaters.

"It was pretty evident if we didn't make the transfer we'd be out of business because all the product coming in on hard drive was with digital projection," Nagelschmidt said.

The Midway used to show movies on a 35mm reel project, but now films are shown on hard drives with a digital projector.

Even though the Midway was hesitant to change, Nagelschmidt and customers are happy with the conversion.

"It’s clearer, brighter, it’s easier for programming," Nagelschmidt said. "You just have to give them a good show and they come. Most people that come here, they come back. We make it a good experience."

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