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The Balboa Theatre, a historic San Francisco neighborhood cinema, needs to upgrade its projectors to digital in order to survive.
The Balboa Theatre, a historic San Francisco neighborhood cinema, needs to upgrade its projectors to digital in order to survive.
1,063 backers pledged $101,957 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$101,957

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The Balboa Theatre opened in 1926 and has served San Francisco's Richmond district continuously since then.  Every year, thousands of residents of all ages visit the Balboa to relax and enjoy the magic of the movies in a classic neighborhood setting.  We want this tradition to continue, but we need your help. 

After 100 years of movies being screened from film, Hollywood is converting to digital. Every theatre must upgrade it's projectors and associated equipment and it must be done by the end of this year. Upgrading the projection and sound equipment in both of the Balboa's auditoriums will cost close to $150,000. This goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to raise the funds to cover the cost of the digital upgrade for one of the Balboa's two auditoriums. Any funds raised above the goal will be put towards upgrading the second auditorium. 

Balboa Theatre, 1969
Balboa Theatre, 1969

Unfortunately, classic cinemas like the Balboa are rarely able to compete against modern multiplexes.  The Balboa is able to survive only because the non-profit San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation holds the lease for the Balboa and covers many expenses so that the Balboa's operator, CinemaSF, can afford to keep the theatre going.  To date, the Theater Foundation has enabled numerous improvements including new paint, new floors, a new heating system and new seats.  The expense of the digital upgrade, however, requires this Kickstarter campaign. 

If the campaign is successful we will immediately upgrade the Balboa's auditorium 1 to digital and hopefully we'll be able to get work on auditorium 2 going as well.  With digital projectors in place we'll be able to keep the Balboa alive offering a modern, first-class movie experience in a classic neighborhood theatre.  Once the digital conversion is complete, we plan to work on other upgrades including expanding the concesssion operation to include beer, wine and food.  We also hope to rehab the Balboa's aging restrooms. 

And if we're not successful?  Without digital the Balboa Theatre can't continue to screen new films and the theatre will likely go dark.  We don't want that to happen and we know you don't want it to happen either.  So please give what you can and for that we'll give you great opportunities to experience the new and improved Balboa for many years to come. 

Balboa Theatre, 2012
Balboa Theatre, 2012

Risks and challenges

Fortunately we just installed a brand new digital projector at the Vogue Theatre so we know what we're doing. We work with professional installers to make sure the installation is done right. Unlike the Vogue which already had digital surround sound, the digital updgrade of Balboa will also include the addition of a new sound system. We already have the speakers, however, so given a little bit of extra time for installation it shouldn't be a problem.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Free Popcorn at the Balboa Theatre

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    92 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    One Admission and a free popcorn at the Balboa Theatre

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    213 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Two (2) Admissions and Two (2) Free Popcorns at the Balboa Theatre

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    191 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Name on Lobby Donor Wall,
    Four (4) Admissions at the Balboa Theatre,
    Two (2) Popcorn Passes at the Balboa Theatre

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    283 backers
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    Pledge $101 or more About $101

    BALBOA BOWL - Admision for you and a guest to Sept. 19th Balboa Bowl Event Incl. Big Lebowski Screening plus all $100 Pledge Benefits (Name on Lobby Donor Wall, Four (4) Admissions at the Balboa Theatre, Two (2) Popcorn Passes at the Balboa Theatre)

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    Limited 59 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Name on Lobby Donor Wall,
    Ten (10) Admissions at the Balboa Theatre,
    Five (5) Popcorn Passes at the Balboa Theatre

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    36 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Name on Balboa Seat,
    Two (2) Tickets to Dinner and a Movie Celebration,
    Name on Lobby Donor Wall,
    Ten (10) Admissions at the Balboa Theatre,
    Five (5) Popcorn Passes at the Balboa Theatre

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    Limited 29 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    1-Year Admission/Popcorn Pass for Two (non-transferable) for the Balboa Theatre,
    Name on Two (2) Balboa Seats,
    Two (2) Tickets to Dinner and a Movie Celebration,
    Name on Lobby Donor Wall

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    Limited 14 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Private Screening at the Balboa with 150 Friends,
    1-Year Admission/Popcorn Pass for Two (non-transferable) for the Balboa Theatre,
    Name on Four (4) Balboa Seats,
    Two (2) Tickets to Dinner and a Movie Celebration,
    Name on Lobby Donor Wall

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    Limited 3 backers
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Funding period

- (55 days)