(+1) 9784800910, (+44) 020 3097 1639 [email protected]
Select Page

In the past, on Saturday nights, the whole family would pile into the car and head straight to the neighborhood drive-in to watch the latest hit movie. People want to go to the movies in a more nostalgic way these days, so drive-in movie houses are making a big return.

The pandemic and social issues have played a big role in this comeback, as movie stars everywhere have gone outside to find other things to do. As people start going out and having fun again, the movie business is expected to grow by 4.8% per year. If you had your own drive-in theater, you could make a lot of money.

But before you turn on the projector, it’s important to know what it takes to start a business. This step-by-step guide has everything you need to get your drive-in up and going, which is a good thing.

Step 1: Find Out if this is the Right Business for You?

Positives Vs Negatives

Rewarding: Have fun with your customers.
Drive-in movies are becoming more popular.
Local Fame – Become a well-known place for tourists to visit
High costs to start up – Land and tools cost a lot.
Help Is Needed: It takes a lot of people to run a drive-in movie theater.
  • Size of the industry and how it has changed over time: The US movie business is worth $12.1 billion every 2022. As a whole, growth slowed because of the recent outbreak, but it is now on the rise again.
  • From now until 2028, the global market for movies is expected to grow by 4.7% per year.
  • Number of businesses: In the United States, there will be 2,525 movie theater companies in 2022.

Cost of Starting Drive-in Movie Theater

A drive-in can cost between $380,000 and $1.3 million to start up. You have to pay to rent or buy land, buy or rent projection and sound tools, and pay to get the rights to show the movies you show. You might be able to keep costs down if you license older movies and buy used tools instead of new ones.

Investment Items:

  • Land
  • A projection that uses a computer
  • Film for a projector
  • Film licensing

Is Drive-in Movie Theater Profitable?

A drive-in show costs about $20 per car on average. If a person wants to buy food and drinks at a concession stand, it costs them an average of $10. After you take out the prices of goods, tools, film licenses, and land, your profit margin should be around 20%.

During your best time, you could hold three shows a week for a total of 125 cars at each. You could make $585k a year if you charged $20 per car and sold each one a $10 treat. If the margin was 20%, this would be worth $117,000 in profit. As your drive-in theater gets more famous, you could show four movies a week to 250 cars each, bringing in $1,600,000 a year and making a nice profit of $312,000.

Entry Barriers

  • High costs to get started make it hard to get in.
  • Buying land that is good for hobbies

Step 2: Create a Strategy

Identify a Gap

 Do research on the drive-in movie theaters in your area to compare their services, prices, and customer polls. You want to find a gap in the market to fill. For example, the local market might not have a drive-in movie theater with a diner or a bar with full service.

This could get people talking about your business again and bring you customers right away.


At your drive-in theater, you can choose to show a wide range of movies. Costs go up when you show new movies instead of older ones. If you want to make more money, you might want to offer perks like food and drinking drinks.


You could charge $10 to $15 per person or $20 to $40 per car. Depending on what you sell, you could charge anywhere from $5 to $15 per thing. Prices for drinks with booze can range from $10 to $20.

Once you know your costs, you can use this step-by-step profit margin tool to figure out your markup and end price. Remember that the prices you use at send-off should be subject to change whenever the market says so.

Target Market

People who want to go to the movies but don’t want to do what they usually do will be your crowd. Customers will be of many different groups, so focus your marketing efforts on popular online entertainment platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.


Your choices may be limited by drafting rules in your area, so you should check with your district.

In the beginning, you may need to do some of your management work from home to save money. But as your business grows, you may need to hire people to do different jobs and you may need to rent an office.

If you’re looking for a place to do business, you might want to keep these things in mind:

  • The site is in the middle of everything and can be reached by public transit. 
  • The room has good air flow and a lot of natural light.
  • As your business grows, you can get a longer lease. 
  • It’s ready to use and doesn’t need any big fixes.

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

Every company need a strategy. This will serve as a manual to help your business through the launch process while keeping you focused on your primary objectives. A business plan also helps potential partners and investors understand your company’s mission and vision:

  • Executive Summary: A brief summary of the full business plan that should be produced when the plan is completed.
  • Business Overview: A description of the organization, including its vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
  • Product and Services: Provide detailed descriptions of your offers.
  • Market Analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate market trends such as variances in demand and development potential.
  • Analyze your top rivals’ strengths and shortcomings, then produce a list of the benefits of your services.
  • Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes how it will get supplies, where it will put its office, what its most important assets and tools are, and other practical details.
  • Financial Plan: A three-year plan for money, including start-up costs, a break-even analysis, predictions of profits and losses, cash flow, and a balance sheet.
  • Appendix: Add any other papers related to money or business.

Step 4: Create a Marketing Plan

Even though some of your business will come from people who just happen to see you or hear about you, you should still do digital marketing. Getting the word out is especially important for new companies because it helps people recognize the brand and the business. 

When your website is done, link it to your social media sites and the other way around. Social media is a great way to market your business because you can make posts that make people want to buy your products. 

  • Facebook is a great place for paid ads because it lets you target specific groups, like men under 50 in the Cleveland area. 
  • Instagram has the same advantages as Facebook, but its users are different.
  • Website: Search engine optimization (SEO) will help your website show up near the top of relevant search results, which is important for making sales. Make sure that the calls to action on your website are the best they can be. Try out different words, colors, sizes, and places for calls to action like “Buy Tickets Now.” This has the ability to boost sales by a lot. 
  • Google and Yelp: Getting mentioned on Yelp and Google My Business can be very important for businesses that depend on local customers to get more people to know about them and buy from them.
  • Competitions and giveaways: To get people interested, offer gifts to customers who do something like share a post from your social media account.
  • Signage: Put up signs that catch people’s eyes at the entrance to your drive-in movie.
  • Flyering: Put up flyers in your area and at business events
  • Support events – You can pay to be a supporter at events that your target market is interested in.
  • Post a video – Post a video about your drive-in movie theater. If you use fun, it might become a hit on the web.
  • Paid ads through virtual entertainment: Choose places where your target market is likely to be and do specific marketing there.
  • Influencer marketing is when you pay people with a lot of fans on social media to spread the word about your drive-in movie theater. There are small powerhouses with smaller fan bases and lower prices.
  • Make a web recording. This lets you connect with your customers in a unique way.
  • Tributes: Tell customers how they enjoyed a movie at your drive-in theater.