Digital Flicks Invade Art House Cinemas




This is Scientific American's 60-Second Tech. I'm Larry Greenemeier. Got a minute?
Shortly after midnight on May 19, 2005, Brooklyn's Pavilion Theatre premiered Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith.
It was the first time that a digitally projected movie graced its screens.
Nearly a decade later small theaters around the country are being forced to go digital.
Paramount Pictures recently released the Wolf of Wall Street only as a digital version only, no celluloid.
It's the first time a big studio has done this with a major release.
It won't be the last.
In addition to a new projector, small movie houses need networking capability to download 80-gigabyte movie files.
Back in 2005, the Pavilion paid $80,000 for its digital set up.
Some small movie houses are turning to crowd-funding sites to pay for the conversion.
Results are mixed.
The single-screen Tampa Pitcher Show in Florida collected less than $8,000 of the $30,000 it tried to raise on Kickstarter.
But San Francisco's Roxie reached its $60,000 goal.
Either way, that familiar ticking that tells you a film is about to start will soon be just a memory.
Or a digital copy.
Thanks for the minute, for Scientific American's 60-Second Tech. I'm Larry Greenemeier.