Small Town Theater owners feeling the pinch from digital delivery (1 Viewer)


Thread Starter
Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
Sheboygan, WI
Many small town theaters closed in the late 80s when they found they couldn't compete with the videocassette. Others managed to survive, but it appears they are being threatened again by a plan to convert all film distribution to digital media. That means conventional projectors being replaced with expensive digital projectors, commercial media players and fast ethernet connections.

Here is an interesting read on the subject from NPR Minnesota: Small-town movie theater owners weigh cost of digital upgrade | Minnesota Public Radio News

We had been discussing changes in theaters in another group I frequent for movie poster collectors. The new posters are starting to appear and it looks to be an entirely new art form. Here is a link to an example of the new Puss in Boots digital poster:
Exclusive: 'Puss in Boots' Motion Poster Premiere! -

We were discussing how this was going to quickly kill the traditional paper movie poster, and how it would affect small theaters, but the digital projection issue is a monster in comparison.


SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 13, 2005
Digital is going to be a problem for many theaters especially those in little towns and small cities. It will really affect those that are just barely making it now.

It's much like the late 1920's when talkies came in. Many theaters closed because the owners couldn't afford the cost to convert. The studios helped under-right the cost for some of the bigger chains, but sadly forgot about the little guys,

Same thing in the mid-1950's when CinemaScope was introduced. A lot of theaters closed then too. Not necessarily because of the cost, which wasn't that bad, but because many the buildings themselves weren't wide enough to accommodate a bigger screen. A lot of them had fire exits on each side of their present screen which could not be blocked or moved.

Still, all is not lost. Here in upstate New York a small regional circuit just upgraded all of it's almost 70 screens to digital. That included our own, local, second-run house which only charges $1.75. We were all really worried about that one closing. Now that they have digital, the theater has been packing them in all summer running 3-D films. Even with an additional $1.75 3-D surcharge, it's a lot cheaper than the $15 the mall charges.

I hate to say it, but it's going to be like those other technical changes, the theaters that can afford the change will do so and hopefully prosper and unfortunately, those that aren't will close.

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