This could be curtains for many movie theaters
The film industry plans to complete its costly conversion from film to digital projectors by year-end -- which many small movie houses can't afford.
It really is the end of an era for a lot of movie theaters and their customers, especially at independent movie houses in areas where the chains like Regal (RGC) and AMC (purchased last year by a Chinese conglomerate) don't operate. That's because the film industry is getting ready to complete its conversion from film to digital movie projectors.
This change has been coming for over a decade, but the switch to digital projectors was slowed by the new devices' expense -- and arguments between theater owners and Hollywood over who would absorb those costs.
Gary Susman at Moviefone notes the film studios "stand to save as much as $1 billion per year on the cost of striking and shipping film prints, once they can simply stream or email a digital file to every booked screen with a single click." But that savings wasn't passed on to the movie houses, which have to pay about $70,000 to $80,000 per screen to convert to digital projectors.
And it's the small-town theaters -- some of them "movie palaces" that witnessed the conversion from silent films to talkies nearly a century ago -- that stand to suffer the most when digital projection is the norm across North America by year-end.
"We're at the mercy of the industry," Linda Epperson, whose family runs Creekside Cinema in Cañon City, Colo., recently told the Daily Record. The four-screen Creekside and Cañon City's other theater, the 95-year-old Skyline, may have to close unless they can find funding to convert their projectors to digital.
The Theatre Historical Society of America estimates the U.S. has between 500 and 750 historic theaters currently showing movies, and it says digital conversion could end their survival as community businesses.
"This is another major threat to these theaters which were largely rescued and restored by grass-roots local efforts," Karen Colizzi Noonan, the society's president, told The Associated Press. "It is so sad that after all that hard work and dedication these groups now face another huge challenge just to survive."
Some small theaters, like Creekside Cinema, are looking to the online platform Kickstarter, which helps fund creative projects. Taking another approach, Ongara Theater in Illinois is appealing directly to its customers to help finance the conversion through the purchase of movie-screen ads, T-shirts and gift certificates.
And some economic help may be on the way for small movie theater "exhibitors." Late last autumn, Bloomberg reported that Cinedigm Digital Cinema (CIDM) and the National Association of Theatre Owners are working out flexible funding, loans and reimbursement from the film studios to help cover conversion costs for some movie houses.
But many small, independent operators wonder if their days are numbered. "We're not trying to scare people," Fred Kaplan-Mayer, executive director for the Hiway Theater in suburban Jenkintown, Pa., told Philly.com in January. But, he added, "if we don't have a digital projector, we will not be able to participate in the movie industry."
The rising cost of going to the movies alongside the plumetting qualtiy of content full of re-regurgitated storylines and carried by CGI and pyrotechnics has made me reluctant to spend any money on what is more often that not a disappointing experience.
Combine this with a decreased number of venues to distribute overpriced garbage and that makes going to a movie even less desirable. If I had to drive any farther or pay for parking, I simply wouldn't go. I can wait a few months and watch it at home for $3. 2 movie tickets and a soda in LA cost $30 to $40.
Let's do the math movie studios saving $1 billion a year -- $10 billion over ten years
that is 12,500 digital projectors a year or 125,000 over ten years.
Hmmm 750 historical theaters in danger of closing. That is like 5 percent of the savings for one year.
Seems like Hollywood wants to kill off the historical theaters.
Go to the movies, spend appx. 40.00 dollars for a family of 4 BEFORE concession stands...
Finding a parking space in lot
Rude movie goers
Long waiting lines
Watered down soda/bad tasting overpriced food and snacks.
Watch online, or blu-ray, maybe just a month after release into theatres, in the comfort of your OWN HOME, healthier food, clean surroundings, being able to control BOTH the movie as well as keeping audiences quiet if you want...and the BEST part, spend maybe 1/10 th the money!!!
Yea, makes me want to rush right out and catch the latest "1 up" flicks at my local Loews theatre.
Kind of like NASCAR racing now. Notice that the cameras hardly show the infield parking or grandstands anymore? That's because in this "economic recovery", PEOPLE HAVE STOPPED GOING, IN FAVOR OF BEING COMFORTABLE WATCHING THE RACE ON THEIR 60" FLAT SCREEN IN THE COMFORT OF THEIR HEATED/AIR CONDITIONED HOME, saving money in the process...
Oh but that's right...money's NOT a factor in this...Noblaba said "the middle class is doing fine"...so are theatres...
A dis-satisfied customer and voter...
Sorry movie theaters...with the advent of the HD/Plasma/LCD 3d- TV's...it just looks way better at my house...+ I can smoke out and drink in my own living room and not have to listen to other people I do not know run their mouth.
The theater near where I live started renting itself out for kids parties during the day--it's nice for the kids to be able to pick a classic Disney flick to watch with their friends and have a party. The kids' groups locally (like soccer teams and so forth) also go there for parties. They just had to seriously clean the places up. The facilities make good party headquarters--and then they have movies in the evenings, sometimes.
One just needs to think outside the box--restructure the front to work for conference meetings and so forth and rent the place out during the day. Retrofit them to also work for weddings. If they can make enough money at these ventures, they can get the new projector, and it all works out.
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