Theaters continue to adapt to digital film

by Bob Deutsch

Movie theaters that rely on analog film will be forced to switch to digital by the end of this yearMovie theaters that rely on analog film will be forced to switch to digital by the end of this year.

The film industry will be seeing major changes soon. Hollywood executives announced last month that at the end of this year, new movies would no longer be printed on 35 mm film, only digital. While Hollywood executives have been encouraging theaters to switch to this form for a while – subsidies were offered to those that showed digital movies in hopes of moving all theaters to this system. But some continue to use 35 mm film, especially drive-in theaters that have much more expensive projection equipment that make switching to digital a larger feat.

But even some sit-down theaters are struggling as well, since no more analog films will mean new pricey projection equipment. If they don’t, more than likely a theater will go out of business.

An article in The Brown Herald looked at local theaters in Providence, Rhode Island making the transition from analog to digital. Providence Place Cinema began the switch to digital film in February, shortly after the Hollywood announcement was made, and Avon Cinema officials have said the theater will be transitioning in the next two months. Avon Owner Richard Dulgarian is using $80,000 to $100,000 of his own money to pay for the needed equipment.

While this news is unfortunate for theaters that must adapt to the new changes, the quality of film is stronger and less prone to damage, unlike 35 mm. Additionally, digital film is less expensive to make – one of the reasons behind this move – and anti-piracy features can be added.

For theaters that are looking into ways to raise funds or better compete, outdoor movies can help, especially for those that are are running out of ways to screen films. With outdoor movie screens, theaters can offer audience members another environment to view films, different than the typical seated movie theater experience.

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