EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Modern technology is catching up with the movie industry. The old, clunky film projectors are out, and digital is in.
The conversion isn't coming without some big implications for small independent theatres, including several in western New York.
"It came a lot quicker than we expected. It has the implication of a financial burden on keeping the Aurora Theatre open," said Lynn Kinsella, owner of the Aurora Theatre.
At the Dipson Lancaster FLIX, the conversion is complete, but that's not the case at all the Dipson theatres.
Friday, News 4 spoke with Tracy Janis, district manager of the Dipson Theatre Group.
"I don't think it's so much the big guys trying to put the little guys out of business as it is the film companies trying to cut away a little bit of their cost," Janis said.
Michael Clement, president of the Dipson Theater Group speculates that up to 15 percent of the nation's theatres may close. No decision has been made as to whether any of the film-only Dipson Theatres will close, if any.
"I've spoken with many theatre owners and read in the papers that some of them have already made the decision, that when film is no longer available, they will close," added Kinsella.
Locally-owned theatres, such as the Aurora, are scrambling to generate the money necessary to change projectors through fundraisers. The goal is not to raise ticket and concession prices.
"We just had a concert here at the theatre that the money is going toward digital conversion. We are also allowing people to put a favorite memory on a seat of their choice," said Kinsella.
And it is costly. Janis indicated that the cost to convert one screen is approximately $100,000.
As painful as this process may be for the smaller theatres, there is an upside.
"It is really the second greatest thing to happen in 100 years to the film industry. The first being when silent films went to talkies," said Kinsella.
Up until now, movies had to be shipped. With the digital conversion, movies are now downloaded over a satellite feed.
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