Digital conversion could bring end for small movie theatres - abc27 WHTM

Digital conversion could bring end for small movie theatres

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Once upon a time when you wanted to see a movie, you went to a one screen theatre like the Elks Theatre in Middletown where the movie was actually shown with film, but Hollywood is going digital.

Movies will no longer be released on film.

"A roll of 35 is anywhere between $1,000 to $1,500," said Max Einhorn, Director of Development at the Elks Theatre. "With digital, the film is just put on a hard drive and that's only about $100, $150."

It may be a good business move for the film industry, but independent theatres will have to make the switch from a 35mm film projector to a digital projector, which could mean end of story.

"As new releases are only becoming more and more available on digital, because that's our primary source of revenue, if we can't accommodate new releases we can't stay in business," Einhorn said.

Einhorn is directing the "Save the Elks!" campaign. Each month, the proceeds from the Elks Theatre's movie series will go toward buying the new projector. This month, it is "Monty Python."

So far, the theatre has raised about $5,000, but the projector will cost an estimated $60,000. Einhorn hopes the community will step up.

"A lot of Middletown residents won't be able to imagine a Middletown without it, I think," he said. "Movie theatres need to be preserved just in the same way that national parks and sports stadiums do, too, because it's about being around other people you care about and enjoying something."

Einhorn predicted the campaign will raise enough money to buy the digital projector by mid-summer.

For more information on how to Save the Elks, visit www.elksmovies.com.

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