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Conversion cost may force Rogersville theater to close

January 5th, 2014 9:25 pm by Jeff Bobo

Conversion cost may force Rogersville theater to close

The estimated cost of converting the theater’s projectors, sound system and screens to accommodate the digital systems that movie companies are mandating is $75,000 per screen, a total of $335,000 overall. Contributed photo.

ROGERSVILLE — Like many small-town independent theaters across the country, the Cinema 4 in Rogersville may be forced to close its doors at the end of this month if it can’t afford to convert to a digital projection system.

Larry Maysilles, who owns and operates Rogersville Cinema 4 with his son Eric, said the switchover will cost more than $75,000 per screen.

Maysilles said he doesn’t believe it will be less than $335,000 overall, which is also roughly the Cinema 4’s total gross revenue for a whole year. Without help, that price may be insurmountable, he added.

Maysilles met with the Rogersville Chamber of Commerce last month to discuss the Cinema 4’s possible shutdown.

The chamber agreed to pool the resources of several community leaders in hopes of finding ideas for a solution. The chamber will convene again this morning to discuss options for keeping the theater open.

Maysilles told the Times-News last week it will come down to money.

“The movie companies are stopping the production of 35-millimeter film, and Paramount has already stopped,” Maysilles said. “Disney and Fox are threatening to follow suit sometime this month. What it boils down to is, if we want to continue showing movies we have to convert to digital because everything from now on is going to come out on a digital format.” 

For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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