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Small Local Cinemas Scramble To Cover Cost Of Film To Digital Conversion

By Anthony Silva, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 New England Business Editor
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BOSTON (CBS) – Small movie theaters across the region are using all sorts of means to raise thousands of dollars in cash they’ll need to pay for the biggest transition in decades – the change to digital.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s New England Business Editor Anthony Silva reports

Major movie studios will soon phase out sending big, bulky cans of film to theaters. Instead, they will ship small digital hard drives. Theaters have to pay for the conversion, however.

Coolidge Corner Theater has converted one screen, but is still fundraising. Executive Director Denise Kasell says much of the money comes in bit by bit, and also in grant money.

At Cinema Salem, Paul Van Ness is raising money online through Kickstarter.

Van Ness explains Kickstarter financing: “Instead of looking for one person to give a million dollars, you’re looking for a million people to give you one dollar.”

Ian Judge at Arlington’s Capitol Theatre says his conversion is done and paid for.

He worries about smaller venues.

“You’re going to see thousands of mom-and-pop theaters across this country dry up and blow away in the wind because they can’t come up with that money, and the studios aren’t interested in subsidizing (them),” he said. “If you’re a tiny, two screen theater in South Dakota, you don’t really make Hollywood a lot of money.”

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