New technology could put some theaters out of business
CALVERT CITY, Ky. - Friday night at the drive-in, the popcorn is popping, the pizza is being sliced, and the projectors are rolling- for now.
It is Mike Harrington's parents who opened up the drive in decades ago, "I've been here since 1954. I was just 7 years old when they built it."
Not a lot has changed, but it is about to as the 35 mm film used to show movies becomes a thing of the past.
"I've been out here so long, seen a lot of films. I'm kinda tired of problems, I think digital will be a lot better," he admitted Friday, while threading the film for the 8:30 show.
Easier maybe, but Harrington's nephew, John worries, a lot more expensive.
"It's just a lot to get prepared for," he said.
"The options are change over or close," Heidi Boyd, the operator of Princeton's Capitol Theater said.
She estimates a change over will cost $200,000 and when tickets are just 5 and 7 dollars, that money is tough to come by.
"We mortgaged our house to get this place. If it would shut down we would possibly lose everything," she said.
But Boyd says closing the doors to the main street theater, which reopened in 1996 is not an option.
And after nearly 60 years in business, the Harrington family says that is something they shudder to even consider.
"That's just not an option, we'd probably get run out of town," John said, cracking a smile.
The Harringtons have located a theater in Arkansas that has some digital equipment they have been using for quite some time. They are hoping to get it at half the price. As for the Capitol Theater, they are considering fundraisers, even selling shares in their theater. But, they all say the same thing, they do not want to raise their ticket prices.
With most 35 mm film being phased out by the year's end, there is an option of keeping with the old equipment and showing older films. But Boyd and John Harrington say it is not enough of a draw to keep their theaters afloat.