DON'T LET OUR SCREENS GO DARK
"[Film] prints could be unavailable as early as...2013. Simply put, if you don't make the decision to get on the digital train soon, you will be making the decision to get out of the business."
- John Fithian, President, National Association of Theater Owners
The film industry is changing. In order for The Grand Cinema to remain a viable and vibrant part of the community, it must change as well.
THEN AND NOW. The Grand Cinema has shown movies on 35mm film projectors since its founding. But very soon, all of our main releases will be available only in digital cinema format - and not on film. So, if we want to show future movies comparable to The King's Speech, or even smaller titles like Monsieur Lazhar, we'll have to show them on digital cinema projectors. We must adapt or close our doors.
OUR PLAN. To provide a seamless transition for our patrons and guests, we plan to install digital projection equipment for all four screens no later than fall 2013.
THE EXPENSE. Purchase and installation of each digital cinema projector will cost more than $75,000 per screen, for a total of approximately $344,000.
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE. With the support of our members and friends, we will continue to show gerat movies. Your gift will keep The Grand Cinema vibrant and exciting for years to come.
Questions? Learn more online at GrandCinema.com, call 253-572-6062 or email Executive Director Philip Cowan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why must The Grand Cinema go digital?
The movie industry has been moving in this direction for a decade for economic reasons. It’s much less expensive for a studio to make digital prints of movies than film prints. Unfortunately, the cost of upgrading the projectors to digital cinema falls on theaters. Already, more than half of the screens in the U.S. use digital projectors, and the industry has reached a tipping point. For The Grand to continue showing films, it must convert.
What will happen if we don’t convert to digital?
Soon studios and distributors will no longer provide films on film reels. Without digital projection equipment, within a year or two we won’t be able to show hits like The King’s Speech or Slumdog Millionaire. Films like that are essential to the economic viability of The Grand. They allow us to show the smaller independent and foreign films you won’t see anywhere else in the South Sound. If we were no longer able to show those great films, we might not survive.
What is the time frame for the conversion?
We’ve known this change was coming for the last several years. We opted to wait as long as possible, while the technical quality of the equipment improved and its cost decreased and stabilized. We estimate we have about a year before our access to first-run art films (like The King’s Speech) is cut off. By acting now, we can ensure a seamless transition to digital projection with minimal disruption to the experience of our patrons. With the successful completion of this digital campaign, we plan to purchase and install the projectors by fall 2013.
How does digital cinema look?
Digital cinema projection offers an amazingly sharp and bright picture. Listen, we’ve been 35mm film cinephiles for a long time, and even we are impressed by the beauty, depth, and clarity of movies projected by the latest digital cinema projectors. While there will always be a special place in our hearts for 35mm, we believe this is a step forward into the future of visual presentation. Yes, some film lovers will always prefer 35 mm film. But, on balance, we think that the switch to digital cinema is good for the visual aesthetic experience.
What are other theaters doing?
Art house theaters across the country are in the same position we’re in. We’ve been talking with our peers from other theaters for more than a year about digital cinema projection and have discovered that many small, independent theaters are approaching this problem the same way we are: by calling on our dedicated members and friends to help us ensure that our theater remains a relevant and viable community centerpiece. The Grand is fortunate to be financially healthy and to have a large and supportive member base. We are well positioned to make this change.
Will there be any 35mm film prints in the future? What will happen to our current 35mm projectors?
Because we don’t want to lose the ability to play 35mm completely, we will hold on to one of our excellent 35mm film projectors. That way, we’ll have it for special screenings and to show archival prints and classic movies on 35mm film.
How can we get there?
With your donation, as well as those from generous local foundations, we can do it. The Bamford Family Foundation, for example, will match every donation of $100 or greater up to $5,000. Every dollar is important. Show your support today!