Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Last Picture Show

That's entertainment (and 21st century finance);
Hollywood's major studios are in the final days of distributing movies on film reels and moving to digital distribution sent via hard drives or satellite, a method that is cheaper for studios but requires significant investment by theaters in new equipment. The conversion means theaters like Mrs. DiAugustine-Bower's Berwick Theater could fade out for good.
The theater, about 50 miles southwest of Scranton [PA], has raised only $6,000 so far, a difficult amount to earn by selling baked goods and old movie posters in an economically depressed town.
"I got a backlash from patrons when I mentioned raising ticket prices" to $5 from $4, said Mrs. DiAugustine-Bower.
 Later in the WSJ article though, we see that bake sales aren't the only way to raise funds;
Scrabble Ventures LLC has begun leasing digital projectors to small theaters that can't afford a lump-sum payment. Chief Executive Ranjit Thakur said the company has converted 370 theaters so far with more than 400 scheduled over the next three months.
....some community houses are gobbled up by larger chains, eager to acquire cash-strapped theaters cheaply. The theater closest to Mrs. DiAugustine-Bower's Berwick Theater, the 11-screen Digiplex Cinema Center in Bloomsburg, Pa., was purchased and then upgraded with digital projection gear in 2012 by Digital Cinema Destinations Corp. ... a new chain eyeing theaters trying to sell before paying conversion costs.
Box office crowd funding;
Many theaters, like the Hippodrome Theatre in Gainesville, Fla., have successfully tapped some former residents with online Kickstarter campaigns. The Hippodrome offered backers the chance to engrave theater seats, and ran a title card before films for six months showing the names of supporters of its $40,000 drive, more than $15,000 of which was raised through the online campaign.
In Colorado, a state program has teamed up with local philanthropists to award about $700,000 to 14 struggling theaters in its mountain communities. "Losing [the theaters] can lead to the social degradation of the town," said Colorado Film Commissioner Donald Zuckerman.
One recently converted theater, the 122-year-old Twin City Opera House in McConnelsville, Ohio, raised about $90,000 for its upgrade. The local Kiwanis International club gave $10,000, but most of the money came via donations of about $50 each, said Executive Director Adam Shriver.
We believe this is known as 'burying the lede'.

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