A rural theaters digital-conversion assistance initiative of Downtown Colorado, Inc.
Working to save small movie theaters in rural Colorado as they face the economic burden of an industry-mandated conversion to digital projection
As the film industry is making a full transition from print film to digital projection by the end of the year, movie theaters are forced to come up with the cost of conversion or risk shutting their doors. This places a significant financial burden for small,
independent theaters that need expensive upgrades.
The Save Our Screens initiative was formed out of a relationship between Downtown Colorado, Inc. (DCI) and movie theater owners across the state. It is a product of mutual intent to see these local businesses continue operating as important cultural pillars of their communities.
Save Our Screens Background and Progress
In late 2012, DCI was alerted to the challenge facing many small town
and independently owned theaters of converting to a new digital format
technology. While the conversion makes distribution more cost-effective for
studios, initial upfront costs for local theaters can be prohibitive. Typical
investments to convert one auditorium can range from $60,000 to over $120,000,
depending on projection and sound needs, installation costs, and other upgrades
to support the new technology.
After undertaking initial surveys of theaters across the state to
determine status and level of need, DCI has worked with state agency and private foundation partners to provide funding and
technical assistance to independent theaters that are looking to convert to digital
The theaters can't keep running without your help, though! A vital aspect of the SOS initiative is a crowdfunding campaign where cinema-lovers can contribute to keeping the doors to their local theaters open. SOS launched their Community Funded project page in late November to help theaters meet their fundraising goals and upgrade to digital projectors by the end of the year.
Once all theaters have completed the conversion to digital systems, the next step is development of a large information sharing network among independently owned small, rural movie theaters and cultural facilities across Colorado. DCI is currently collecting stories of theaters that have converted to identify best practices. If you are a theater owner/operator or would like to get the word out about the theater in your town please contact DCI, we would love to include your theater's story in our case studies!