The operators of Lamorinda's two landmark theatres are struggling to find a way to fund a required transition from film to digital projection.
Movie studios are abandoning the old 35mm film canisters in favor of digital projection for their new releases. Film buffs may prefer the old reel-to-reel projectors but theatre managers say they need to make the transition in order to get the latest movies, draw the crowds and stay competitive.
The problem? The digital projection equipment will cost a bunch of money the two theatres may not be able to come up with in time.
"We are still looking into fundraising, and we will have an official message soon -- in the next two weeks or so," Manager Beau Behan said Tuesday.
In the meantime, most of the major film studios have already stopped mailing out their latest blockbusters to smaller movie houses in favor of digital distribution methods that save them time and money. Small movie houses, like and the New Rheem Theatre, will need to make the switch to digital projection in order to get the latest crowd-pleasing movies and stay competitive -- and insiders say that bill is going to come due in a few months.
Theatre supporters say that's the problem: Orinda needs three digital projectors and Rheem would need four -- at a cost of about $60,000 each.
Zowie. Theatre lovers and local film buffs are biting their nails -- not over the latest plot twist in Mission Impossible -- but rather if the area's two theatres will be able to come up with enough movie moolah to keep the doors open and the lights on for years more to come.