An Ode to the Local Movie Theaters As They Go Out of Business

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bill-swift - September 7, 2012

As more and more movies are distributed digitally in theaters it means less and less are being offered in 35mm prints. Audiences expect digital: It's cleaner, doesn't scratch like traditional film and is actually cheaper for studios and distributors. So what's the problem? Well, to convert your theater to project digitally costs about $85,000, or roughly the opening weekend box office for Total Recall.

While this might not seem like a lot of money for conglomerate theater chains like AMC or Lowes, for Mom and Pop operations in Anytown, U.S.A., it could mean the difference between staying in business or shutting their doors. And that's just what's happening across the country as many local movie theaters just can't keep up in the digital age and are taking their 35mm projectors with them to the unemployment office.

And so for you, the little guys, I've written this small ode:

Oh, sweet, sweet small town local theater. With your student discount prices before 5pm that still accepts my College ID that expired in 1999, what will I do when you are gone?

Even though I've been out of the country the last two months that God-awful sci-fi movie that only grossed $5mill I wanted to see is thankfully still playing at you. You really shouldn't have.

Between the fifteen year old selling me my ticket and the eighty year old tearing it, I see the entire breadth of the human existence in your hallowed halls.

The perfect amount of staleness to my Mike and Ikes keep them hard and crunchy in my mouth as I breathe in the faint smell of mold and mildew from the 80-year old curtain that swings in front of your single screen that shows a movie with more scratches on the damaged 35mm print than an infant who falls into the lion pen at the San Diego Zoo.

Let me take one last look at you and remember those dark corners in the back where as a young many a make-out session and subsequent 'accident in my shorts' occurred. For you could never afford enough ushers to keep their eyes out to make sure there was no hanky panky. Ah, youth.

And so we bid you adieu small, local theater. You may never had had enough letters to fully spell out the title of the movie you were playing on the marquee, but you still sent that poor immigrant handy-man up on the ladder to try his hardest anyway. And we salute you. Goodbye.

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