project drive in honda movie theater digital projection film cinemaWhen was the last time you saw a movie at a drive-in theater? What would you do if you knew you could help save the few remaining drive-ins from "going dark" forever? Interestingly enough, American Honda (yes, that Honda) is giving you that exact opportunity. According to its Project Drive-In campaign, there are merely 368 drive-ins still open for theatrical screening in the US. As many drive-ins face the financial leap of upgrading to digital projection -- or the looming alternative, shutting down permanently -- Project Drive-In has helped save 9 theaters, donating digital projection systems to 5 of them outright. There's still many theaters, however, that could use some serious help. Read more for details on Honda's ongoing Project Drive-In & Indiegogo campaign.

Here's the video and some details from the Project Drive-In Indiegogo going on at the moment:

Honda donated five digital projectors to save five drive-ins. America’s votes at decided which of the 126 participating drive-ins received the projectors. Through this fund, additional funding from Honda and a partnership with Christie Digital Systems, we were able to award four additional digital projectors. We took the first step. But we can’t stop now. There are still over 140 drive-ins that need to convert by the end of the year. Let’s keep going until we save this classic part of American culture.

The Project Drive-In website also features a pretty nifty interactive map of drive-ins across the country. The map marks locations as either "saved" or "not converted," and affords each drive-in its own personalized campaign photo or video and description. It also automatically provides you a list of drive-ins local to you if you're based in the US.

I'm all for the work that's been done so far, but it is still just a fraction of the total theaters that need help -- even among the 126 drive-ins participating in the project.

Here is another video headlining the campaign's homepage:

It may seem strange for a car company to spearhead this campaign, instead of -- well, some company more tied to the world of cinema or something. And yes, there's the fact that Honda isn't even really an "American" car company, though such a designation doesn't mean as much these days.

Of 'the Big Three' car companies, Chrysler is the only one drawing direct attention to roots in Detroit (specifically) or America (in general) -- and Chrysler is a subsidiary of Fiat. In other words, raised-eyebrows aside, why not a car company, and why not Honda? From the Indiegogo:

Cars and Drive-ins go hand in hand. So who better to help save the drive-in than a car company? What better company than American Honda? Since 1933, these iconic outdoor screens have been built around car culture. Honda understands that the classic drive-in movie theater is an important part to our American heritage.

At the end of the day, I think it's a pretty remarkable move on Honda's part. I don't even care if it makes sense or not. The organization of drive-ins in need and moviegoers willing to help them, well, that's a pretty respectable undertaking in my book. If you want to pledge to visit a local drive-in, make your own contribution, or simply read more, see the links below.

What do you guys think of Project Drive-In -- and moreover, the state of drive-ins these days? Will you be making a contribution to the cause?