(CBS) — The Wilmette Theatre is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, but the movie industry’s conversion from film to digital is putting its next 100 years in jeopardy.
“We need to raise $70,000 to cover our costs of converting to digital. That includes purchasing the projector, it includes upgrading our sound system and the supporting systems that go along with the digital projector,” Executive Director Wendy Sharon says.
Thanks to the Jerome Mirza Foundation, one of the two screens has already been converted. However, in order for the theatre to survive, the second screen must go digital.
“There’s tradition and nostalgia associated with this theater. It’s an integral part of our community,” Sharon says.
All the major movie studios came together and committed to copying and distributing their movies only in digital format, and no longer in 35 mm.
Major movie chains made the switch more than a year ago. The conversion has been much more difficult for small, independent theaters such as the Wilmette Theatre.
One report estimates that approximately 1,000 independent theaters across the country will close because they can’t afford to make the switch.