Local movie theaters shell out big bucks to replace film projectors with digital systems

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Big changes are coming to local movie theaters.  

While it's a technology upgrade, it comes with at a huge cost to independent operators.

Projectionists at Screenland Theatres spent Wednesday packing up the huge reels of the film "Oz the Great and Powerful."  When the next screening of "Oz" hits their big screen, it will play off a digital projection system.

"I liken it to when sound came to the movies in 1927," explained Screenland Theatres owner Butch Rigby.

With no more film projectors means no more shipping 90 pounds of film back and forth to studios. Rigby also says the new technology will drastically improve the look – something he is really excited about. He just had to find a way to make the investment as the alternative was to close.

"We had to get over the very expensive hump of making that conversion to the tune of $100,000 for a small theater. But you persevere and you do it," Rigby said. "Now it's exciting because our films are going to be crystal clear every single time you come to the movies."

Next up will be an upgrade to delivery systems. Last week, the major studios and movie theaters chains reached an agreement to deliver film titles by satellite. That means another big investment in technology. The smaller independent companies, like Screenland, expect to have a few more years before that new technology will reach them.

Rigby remains positive. This improved technology means more classic film titles will come to digital. That will expose them to a whole new generation of movie fans.

Visit Screenland Theatres at www.screenland.com .


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