With a $10,000 donation from Shelby Electric Cooperative and CoBank, the Roxy Theatre raised the money needed for its digital conversion.
“We needed to raise $65,000 to $70,000 for the conversion,” said Roxy committee member Gwyn Helton. “Camice (Barker) talked to us about it earlier this year and we started fundraising this summer.”
“The Co-op donation is the biggest donation from one company in town,” said theatre manager Camice Barker.
With the industry making fewer and fewer 35 mm movies, theaters had to change to digital equipment or close.
Donations to the project came from both individual and corporate donations.
SEC raised $5,000 and received matching funds from CoBank to make the $10,000 donation.
The conversion was made the last week of October, which included replacing the 35 mm film projection system with the computerized system and new silver screen. The digital movie debut was “Wreck It Ralph”, a 3-D movie.
“The first night was almost sold out,” said Barker. She added that being able to show 3-D movies will be an attraction for the theatre.
“It’s just a simple download. It’s so much easier,” Barker said. “We don’t have the problem of film breaking or wrapping around itself. The picture is so much brighter and the sound is so much better.”
She added that the digital movies come in cassettes which are much smaller and lighter that film rolls which have to be spliced together.
Prices for regular movies remain at $4, but there will be an extra charge for 3-D movies, according to Barker.
“We haven’t decided on the price for 3-D yet. We ran a $6 special for ‘Wreck It Ralph’,” she said. She added that the 3-D glasses are available to use during 3-D movies, but the movies are fine to watch without the glasses. The glasses are returned to be thoroughly cleaned.
“The $25,000 TIF grant got the fundraising ball rolling. The community has been so generous. We actually exceeded our goal a little bit, but we do have some expenses to pay for,” Barker said.
Barker noted that the next project is to finish replacing the seats in the theatre.