In just as much trouble as their drive-in counterparts, these $1-to-$4 theaters are getting squeezed from all sides.
keeps tabs on more than 300 such theaters across the country, but there are untold others just scraping by. Video-on-demand services from
(CMCSA - Get Report)
Time Warner Cable
and others keep encroaching on their release schedule. On-demand streaming services from
Vudu have also turned up the pressure.
last year, there's a chance 1,000 theaters -- many carrying second-run movies -- will close their doors for good. The North American Theater Association estimates that 20% of theaters in America -- or 10,000 screens -- won't make the conversion and will go dark.
That leaves the rest to find a way to convert or close. While discount theaters remain a bargain that still undercuts the price of on-demand services, it's going to take something bigger to keep them alive and relevant. That leads us to ...