About the effort to save the tiny town of Higginsville, Missouri‘s local movieplex…
"Digital update costs $70,000," shouts an incorrect headline atop a front page story today in the Star‘s FYI section.
With movie studios rapidly switching from 35 mm to digital projection, small theaters nationwide – like Higginsville’s Davis – have been scambling to convert.
With the days of film being numbered, the conventional wisdom has been that the cost of conversion to digital was $70,000 per screen. Or $300,000 for Higginsville’s four-holer.
Thus the $25,000 prize the Davis won from a Readers Digest contest would only cover a fraction of the switchover cost, the story states.
Au contraire, says KCC movie man Jack Poessiger.
"What I found out last week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas is you can buy a far cheaper system now," Poessiger reports. "I asked some manufacturers what the cheapest system you can convert to digital with costs and they told me you can do it now for about $25,000 a screen."
As opposed to the $70,000 figure reported in today’s Star.
"A year ago it was $70,000," Poessiger says. "And before that it was $100,000 a screen. It’s pretty obvious that there’s still a lot of theaters that have not converted yet and they’ll have to convert or get out of the business."
However there’s a big difference between a $300,000 conversion cost and a $100,000 one. Meaning that with $40,000-plus in the bank, Higginsville’s plight is a far less desperate one than reported today.
Raising the question, where’s Bob Butler when you need him?