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(Omaha World Herald)   It's the end of an era as small town theaters convert to digital or go dark   (omaha.com) divider line 75
    More: Sad, Union Pacific, State Theatre, city centres, multiplexing, movie theaters, digital copy, theaters, dark  
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3531 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 21 Oct 2012 at 1:58 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-21 12:06:55 PM
That sucks. :( Time marches on I guess.
 
2012-10-21 01:02:02 PM
i hate the idea of small-town theaters "going dark," but i've got to say, once you've seen a digital print, you'll never want to go back to seeing film again. i mean, after you're done paying $15 for your ticket, $6 for your diet coke and $8 for your popcorn, you deserve an immaculate picture, IMHO.
 
2012-10-21 02:02:42 PM
If these guys can do it, so can the rest.
http://www.robeytheatre.com/
/The Longest Continuously Operating Theater in the Country.
//Spencer WV
 
2012-10-21 02:03:12 PM
Some non digital theaters will still exist, as there are millions of films that haven't, and likely never will be transfered to digital.

That said, converting to digital will actually save money in the long run.
It cost more than you would imagine to maintain, and run film.
They arrive as a 50 pound package of 5 or so cans that then have to be spliced together, mounted on to the platter system, then threaded through the projector, and film handling chain.

www.valleyadvocate.com
There's a lot of expensive moving parts to maintain.

Between maintenance and manpower costs, you can save recoup that $70k in about 5 years.

Not to mention the fact that you can switch at will, without having to get another expensive print, what film is playing in what theater. If you only sold 8 tickets to one film, but 400 at the other film, you can put it in both theaters at the flick of a switch.
 
2012-10-21 02:04:45 PM
Oh, and don't forget shipping, and storage costs for film prints.
 
2012-10-21 02:05:03 PM
Something something horse and buggy
 
2012-10-21 02:19:27 PM
One great thing about digital, it allows for live events like RiffTrax.
 
2012-10-21 02:21:15 PM
With all the money they are saving by phasing out film prints, the studios could afford to work with manufacturers to offer digital upgrades to exhibitors for pennies on the dollar and avoid shrinking their customer base. Unfortunately, if your theater doesn't have at least a dozen screens and your name isn't AMC or Loews, the studios don't really want you as a customer anyway.
 
2012-10-21 02:21:16 PM

TommyymmoT: Some non digital theaters will still exist, as there are millions of films that haven't, and likely never will be transfered to digital.


At this point there's a new means for making money off old movies in digital theaters. A few tweaks and you could be watching Diamonds Are Forever on the big screen again. It's just a matter of marketing it cool to see the classic hits in the big theaters, and there's a world wide reach for the movies in theater. I bet a theater in the Plano / Richardson (Dallas suburb) area could do Bollywood nights and run new releases and pack the theater.
 
2012-10-21 02:26:51 PM

wildcardjack: TommyymmoT: Some non digital theaters will still exist, as there are millions of films that haven't, and likely never will be transfered to digital.

At this point there's a new means for making money off old movies in digital theaters. A few tweaks and you could be watching Diamonds Are Forever on the big screen again. It's just a matter of marketing it cool to see the classic hits in the big theaters, and there's a world wide reach for the movies in theater. I bet a theater in the Plano / Richardson (Dallas suburb) area could do Bollywood nights and run new releases and pack the theater.


It's not entirely a matter of making money. Educational and archival venues like Eastman House in Rochester, NY, non-profit art theaters and revival cinemas like Film Forum in Manhattan, and festival venues will continue to maintain film projectors, mainly in addition to, rather than instead of, digital projection systems.
 
2012-10-21 02:29:05 PM

wildcardjack: TommyymmoT: Some non digital theaters will still exist, as there are millions of films that haven't, and likely never will be transfered to digital.

At this point there's a new means for making money off old movies in digital theaters. A few tweaks and you could be watching Diamonds Are Forever on the big screen again. It's just a matter of marketing it cool to see the classic hits in the big theaters, and there's a world wide reach for the movies in theater. I bet a theater in the Plano / Richardson (Dallas suburb) area could do Bollywood nights and run new releases and pack the theater.


There is an Indian theater in South Irving.

Most Indian grocers sell bootleg DVDs (due to the whole PAL vs NTSE vs Seacam) of Bollywood hits.
 
2012-10-21 02:31:45 PM

TommyymmoT: Between maintenance and manpower costs, you can save recoup that $70k in about 5 years.


But how long until you're required to buy the next new digital system, after they increase the resolution or otherwise change the standard?
 
2012-10-21 02:33:05 PM
Theaters are on a 3 year upgrade cycle. In 2-3 years, there will be plenty of used digital projectors available cheap.

BTW - the USB drives they put digital films on don't really cost $150 each.
 
2012-10-21 02:37:33 PM
I hate the slick-as-snot, wallet-draining multiplex experience, so it pains me to see small, old theaters go under. I had one in my neighborhood that showed a good mix of mainstream and indie/artsy films -- and had $4.50 matinees -- that went under a few years ago due to flooding damage. I really miss going to a place that doesn't resemble a theme resort, where you can go into the theater and pick a seat based on how it feels when you walk into it, instead of this reserved seating crap.
 
2012-10-21 02:41:20 PM

FlashHarry: i hate the idea of small-town theaters "going dark," but i've got to say, once you've seen a digital print, you'll never want to go back to seeing film again. i mean, after you're done paying $15 for your ticket, $6 for your diet coke and $8 for your popcorn, you deserve an immaculate picture, IMHO.


There isn't a picture made today worth that much money.

Sorry.
 
2012-10-21 02:49:19 PM
I was at an event for Art House cinema owners. The main conversations of the conference was going digital. Many of these small theater owners can't afford the upgrades.
One was saying that if the film is corrupt or breaks, they can do a quick splice.
If the digital file that they are sent is corrupt, their screwed. They were mentioning upward of $100K to convert to digital.
Way out of the budget of small mom and pop indie houses.
 
2012-10-21 03:07:12 PM
I went to see "Hotel Transylvania" yesterday, at a newly digital theater. I took my niece for her birthday. Filthy screen, and line artifacts throughout the entire movie. I won't be back.
 
2012-10-21 03:26:19 PM
So, no more second showing theaters?
 
2012-10-21 03:30:48 PM
The last print film movie Hollywood should ever make should be about an old rural theater struggling to stay with print film then with the support of community, government and Hollywood it makes the transition into digital. But the movie itself becomes digital when the movie theater starts projecting the first digital film within its walls. The end.
/it sounds a bit like the Artist but instead using film instead of sound.
 
2012-10-21 03:40:09 PM

HempHead: Theaters are on a 3 year upgrade cycle. In 2-3 years, there will be plenty of used digital projectors available cheap.

BTW - the USB drives they put digital films on don't really cost $150 each.


I've seen film projectors that were over 40 years old that are still used every day, because they are repairable, and the format never changed.
I think it's too early to roll out digital, because 5 years from now, resolution will likely be much better.
Any projector that is outdated, or just used up in a few years, is not something theater owners are interested in.

Digital projection is still in it's infancy.
Hollywood is the one pushing it. Not audiences, and not theater owners.
From shooting to final editing, everything is done in digital.
The only reason film is used at all any more, is to be compatible with the theaters' existing equipment.
 
2012-10-21 03:43:34 PM

Pinner: I was at an event for Art House cinema owners. The main conversations of the conference was going digital. Many of these small theater owners can't afford the upgrades.
One was saying that if the film is corrupt or breaks, they can do a quick splice.
If the digital file that they are sent is corrupt, their screwed. They were mentioning upward of $100K to convert to digital.
Way out of the budget of small mom and pop indie houses.


Honestly, if you can't get a $100k loan, then your business is screwed anyway.

"Mom and Pop" generally have no business sense at all.
 
2012-10-21 03:50:31 PM
Boy, will you digital fans be pissed when all tape and digital media is erased after the Second Coming of Jesus.

media.giantbomb.com
 
2012-10-21 04:08:40 PM

StoPPeRmobile: So, no more second showing theaters?


Don't get me started on the mess that was the end of the Starship theater in Downtown Lincoln NE. Second Showing theater that they tore down to make way for a business building/ senior center.There is also a law that says no more Theater companies can open new theaters here. 5 years later and what is where it used to be? A parking lot. And a huge new multiplex less then 10 blocks from where it was.

Yea Senior center... riiiight....

Save the Joyo!
 
2012-10-21 04:24:09 PM
The only thing I miss about the switch to digital projection is the little corner blip that warns the projectionist that it's time to load a new reel and switch to the other projector, approx every 20 minutes or so.

It's a great way of keeping track of time during boring movies if you can't see your watch in the dark.
 
2012-10-21 04:30:56 PM

FlashHarry: i hate the idea of small-town theaters "going dark," but i've got to say, once you've seen a digital print, you'll never want to go back to seeing film again. i mean, after you're done paying $15 for your ticket, $6 for your diet coke and $8 for your popcorn, you deserve an immaculate picture, IMHO.


That's why you pay $4 at the small theater that doesn't even have a concession stand.
 
2012-10-21 04:34:47 PM

Another Government Employee: FlashHarry: i hate the idea of small-town theaters "going dark," but i've got to say, once you've seen a digital print, you'll never want to go back to seeing film again. i mean, after you're done paying $15 for your ticket, $6 for your diet coke and $8 for your popcorn, you deserve an immaculate picture, IMHO.

There isn't a picture made today worth that much money.

Sorry.


just saw argo last weekend. it was worth it.
 
2012-10-21 04:38:03 PM
FTFA:
Like a school or restaurant closing, losing a movie theater can be one more nail in the coffin for a small town. But some Nebraska towns have been creative in finding ways to keep the lights on at their movie theaters.

2 words: convert the building into a sex club.

AFTFA:
"The closest theater was about an hour away, in any direction," said Stacie Goochey, president of the theater's board. "People decided they didn't want their kids driving late at night, in winter. We needed something for them to do on weekends."

Oh, and the idea of holding student-organized prayer vigils for the return of wholesome society didn't occur to you?
 
2012-10-21 04:42:27 PM
somecamerunning.typepad.com
 
2012-10-21 04:48:44 PM

Tax Boy: The only thing I miss about the switch to digital projection is the little corner blip that warns the projectionist that it's time to load a new reel and switch to the other projector, approx every 20 minutes or so.


img01.imgsinemalar.com
 
2012-10-21 04:49:23 PM
We still have a small mom and pop theater near my hometown. The price for a weekend evening showing is only $5 and the large size popcorn will set you back a whole $2.50. I can't imagine them being able to upgrade to digital. I try to spend money at local businesses as much as possible but as time goes on there aren't many things left.
 
2012-10-21 04:49:57 PM

wildcardjack: TommyymmoT: Some non digital theaters will still exist, as there are millions of films that haven't, and likely never will be transfered to digital.

At this point there's a new means for making money off old movies in digital theaters. A few tweaks and you could be watching Diamonds Are Forever on the big screen again. It's just a matter of marketing it cool to see the classic hits in the big theaters, and there's a world wide reach for the movies in theater. I bet a theater in the Plano / Richardson (Dallas suburb) area could do Bollywood nights and run new releases and pack the theater.


I was gonna ask why you would choose that particular movie to make your example, but then I thought of giant Jill St. John in that bathing suit and Plenty O' Toole and I support your candidacy wholeheartedly.

/What were we talking about?
 
2012-10-21 04:52:02 PM

TommyymmoT: Digital projection is still in it's infancy.
Hollywood is the one pushing it. Not audiences, and not theater owners.


I'm the audience, and I love digital projection. It means I can go to a movie weeks after it came out and not have the picture look like crap.
 
2012-10-21 04:52:51 PM
Don't worry - as long as there is a market - somebody with actual vision who won't biatch about getting off their lawn will buy the theatre and reopen it.

/and if it can't make any money it doesnt deserve to be open
 
2012-10-21 04:53:07 PM

Tubesteak: I try to spend money at local businesses as much as possible but as time goes on there aren't many things left.


api.ning.com
 
2012-10-21 04:57:45 PM

solokumba: Tubesteak: I try to spend money at local businesses as much as possible but as time goes on there aren't many things left.

[api.ning.com image 720x480]


Good point, I guess there's always asian salad.
 
2012-10-21 04:59:36 PM

Kurmudgeon: If these guys can do it, so can the rest.
http://www.robeytheatre.com/
/The Longest Continuously Operating Theater in the Country.
//Spencer WV


It can work when there aren't 20+ competitors clustered within a 15 mile radius of each other.
 
2012-10-21 05:00:23 PM

Sique: solokumba: Tubesteak: I try to spend money at local businesses as much as possible but as time goes on there aren't many things left.

[api.ning.com image 720x480]

Good point, I guess there's always asian salad.


I think there is an "Asian Salad" joint about a block from the theater
 
2012-10-21 05:19:01 PM
And then finally, when there's nothing left, when you can't borrow another buck from the bank or buy another roll of film, you bust the joint out. You light a match.

blogs.suntimes.com
 
2012-10-21 06:26:45 PM
Right, because digital and chemical film projectors are mutually exclusive. It's fundamentally impossible for a theater to have both.
 
2012-10-21 06:30:12 PM
Hey, Steve Blodgett! My family associated with him professionally (he was actually competition for my dad's movie booking business, the art of wrangling with the distributers about who got what movies). Weird, had a local guy buy the place from my family, he's been remodeling the place and put digital in. His business is doing fine, in fact, it's better than ever.

Sure if the film breaks, you can splice it; but you're still up a creek if you have a defective reel in your film can. I've seen reels come in in the wrong language, reels that had scratches their entire length, etc. At least with digital, you don't have to worry about opening the booth door and having film fall out at you. And you don't have to make up and break down prints.

My dad is absolutely giddy about the digital. When he was young, he helped his dad run Ben-Hur reel to reel. Now he's ready to bring his Ben-Hur BluRay to the theatre to watch THAT version on the big screen.
 
2012-10-21 07:08:59 PM

TommyymmoT: Some non digital theaters will still exist, as there are millions of films that haven't, and likely never will be transfered to digital.

That said, converting to digital will actually save money in the long run.
It cost more than you would imagine to maintain, and run film.
They arrive as a 50 pound package of 5 or so cans that then have to be spliced together, mounted on to the platter system, then threaded through the projector, and film handling chain.


There's a lot of expensive moving parts to maintain.

Between maintenance and manpower costs, you can save recoup that $70k in about 5 years.

Not to mention the fact that you can switch at will, without having to get another expensive print, what film is playing in what theater. If you only sold 8 tickets to one film, but 400 at the other film, you can put it in both theaters at the flick of a switch.


those theates will not exist after 2013 it's hard to play a film if no one is making them. I'm not very familiar with many theatres making a go of it playing just oldies especially in small towns.
 
2012-10-21 07:12:15 PM

Cornelius Dribble: With all the money they are saving by phasing out film prints, the studios could afford to work with manufacturers to offer digital upgrades to exhibitors for pennies on the dollar and avoid shrinking their customer base. Unfortunately, if your theater doesn't have at least a dozen screens and your name isn't AMC or Loews, the studios don't really want you as a customer anyway.


every theatre in North America had exactly this opportunity through many diff companies to qualify for the VPF program
 
2012-10-21 07:15:29 PM

hodge-podge: It can work when there aren't 20+ competitors clustered within a 15 mile radius of each other.


Good point, I think their closest competitor is 25 miles away in Ripley along curvy assed Rt 33 in WV.
They may be on borrowed time, they opened a Walmart Supercenter near by in Spencer, may just be a matter of time before someone opens a modern cinema. The Robey is a teeny place with wooden seats and to use the men's restroom you have to carefully climb down concrete steps into an area almost like a dungeon.
The place does have atmosphere though, we drive over every now and then to catch a movie there for the novelty.
 
2012-10-21 07:18:21 PM

TommyymmoT: HempHead: Theaters are on a 3 year upgrade cycle. In 2-3 years, there will be plenty of used digital projectors available cheap.

BTW - the USB drives they put digital films on don't really cost $150 each.

I've seen film projectors that were over 40 years old that are still used every day, because they are repairable, and the format never changed.
I think it's too early to roll out digital, because 5 years from now, resolution will likely be much better.
Any projector that is outdated, or just used up in a few years, is not something theater owners are interested in.

Digital projection is still in it's infancy.
Hollywood is the one pushing it. Not audiences, and not theater owners.
From shooting to final editing, everything is done in digital.
The only reason film is used at all any more, is to be compatible with the theaters' existing equipment.


in its infancy? it has been around for a decade +. Canada is currently at 85 percent conversion.
 
2012-10-21 07:18:55 PM
My local movie theatre shows a lot of foreign and independent films. It's generally a very cool place to be. However, they need donations to move on to digital. I hope they can make the transition without a hitch, it's wonderful to have this theatre right in town.
 
2012-10-21 07:26:24 PM
while the technology will change the standard took years to get to the point where it is now and it will be years before the current slate of equipment is outdated. But you will have options to get better equipment just as your we're able to with film projectors over the last 100 years. starting next year you will see theatres rolling out projectors from Christie with laser light sources. Even the jump from 2k to 4k projector is not a big deal as the quality from the distance you sit in a theatre is not that noticeable it's frame rate that will be the difference make.
 
2012-10-21 07:53:20 PM
I just can't justify spending $35 for two people to see a movie.
 
2012-10-21 08:12:59 PM

iamsuburbia: TommyymmoT: HempHead: Theaters are on a 3 year upgrade cycle. In 2-3 years, there will be plenty of used digital projectors available cheap.

BTW - the USB drives they put digital films on don't really cost $150 each.

I've seen film projectors that were over 40 years old that are still used every day, because they are repairable, and the format never changed.
I think it's too early to roll out digital, because 5 years from now, resolution will likely be much better.
Any projector that is outdated, or just used up in a few years, is not something theater owners are interested in.

Digital projection is still in it's infancy.
Hollywood is the one pushing it. Not audiences, and not theater owners.
From shooting to final editing, everything is done in digital.
The only reason film is used at all any more, is to be compatible with the theaters' existing equipment.

in its infancy? it has been around for a decade +. Canada is currently at 85 percent conversion.


Yes, it's infancy. A decade is only a long time if you're 12 years old.
 
2012-10-21 08:22:04 PM

HempHead: Theaters are on a 3 year upgrade cycle. In 2-3 years, there will be plenty of used digital projectors available cheap.

BTW - the USB drives they put digital films on don't really cost $150 each.


The digital projector I saw took SATA drives in a custom carrier. The projectionist puts the drive in and presses start whenever the movie needs to start. The theater manager said that anything else done to the projector would cause it to lock up and require a factory/Sony rep to come out and unlock it. They don't even replace the bulbs themselves, they have a contract with the factory tech to come out and replace the bulb at or around the MTBF rating. If the bulb blows (and he said one did, rather spectacularly), the projector is offline until a factory tech can come out.

And I'm sure that drive is encrypted with a key that the Enterprise computer would have a hard time chewing on and the projector has a "wipe on tamper" decryption system.
 
2012-10-21 08:27:53 PM

realmolo: Honestly, if you can't get a $100k loan, then your business is screwed anyway.

"Mom and Pop" generally have no business sense at all.


Some of the people in the story just didn't want to borrow the money. However, you can run a successful single screen movie theater without $100K in credit. That's a stupid metric for a successful business.
 
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