The historic Rogers Theater, Northeast Michigan's longest continuous running single screen theater, must go digital or go dark!
The historic Rogers City Theater is a cultural gem. The Rogers City Theater has literally been a beacon of light for our Northeast Michigan community for over 75 years. We have shown first run movies continuously since November of 1937. In the past ten years we have invested in many improvements, including the addition of a stage, theatrical lighting, modern restrooms, the re-creation of the original 1937 black and orange tile façade, a new roof, and the renovation of our historic marquee, complete with chase lights. The result has been the creation of a community center which offers movies, concerts, live performances, and community theater productions, all to the delight of local residents and visitors from southern Michigan and elsewhere who come to enjoy the beauty of the Rogers City Area on the silver shores of the "Sunrise Side" of Lake Huron.
Go Digital or Go Dark! Movies have been produced on film for over 100 years. However, all the major movie studios have determined that they will only make movies in digital format beginning in 2014. This will substantially reduce their production and distribution costs. It will also provide a better movie-going experience in both picture and sound quality. No more sound pops, scratched film, or missing frames. Just a brighter, sharper picture and incredible state of the art surround sound immersion. Sounds great, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, it also means that the Rogers City Theater will have to "go digital or go dark." Many independent downtown movie theaters have already closed or will be forced to shut their doors in the near future. The new digital projectors and sound equipment required for the conversion to digital movies are very expensive.
The film studios have offered major multiplex theaters substantial subsidies to make the conversion to the digital projection system, but independent single screen theaters like ours are not eligible for such assistance.
We have worked very hard to renovate and maintain the historic Rogers City Theater. It would be a shame if unaffordable technology, rather than dedication and hard work, should deprive our residents and visitors of a gathering place to experience movies and other forms of art.
The Rogers City Theater needs your support! We just break even on covering our operating expenses through reasonably priced ticket sales and concessions. Movie tickets are the primary source of income needed to keep the theater open. We estimate that we need $100,000 to cover the cost of conversion to digital movies. Frankly, we don't have that kind of money. Your donations to this Kickstarter project can help us keep the lights on at the historic Rogers City Theater.
Our funding goal of $100,000 will cover the costs of:
- A new digital movie projector.
- An upgraded audio system to deliver digitally produced sound.
- New lenses.
- A server to download and store digital movie content.
- 3-D components, lenses, and special glasses for digital 3-D movies.
- A backup system to keep the server online in case of power failure.
- New movie screen backing.
- A base for the projector and server.
- Wires and cables for connecting everything.
- Backup spare parts - we won't have a second projector like we have now, so we need to keep essential spare parts on hand.
- The cost of delivery. installation, and alignment of the new equipment, removal of the old systems, and the cost of remodeling the projection booth to make it compatible with the requirements for a digital projection system.
- If we can negotiate to reduce any of these costs, or if we exceed our $100,000 goal, any excess funds will be use to purchase new theater seats - as many as we can afford.
QUESTIONS THAT WE HAVE BEEN ASKED:
What happens to my pledged money if the Rogers Theater can't raise all of the $100,000?
Amazon payments will only charge your credit card on September 28, 2013 if we reach our goal of $100,000. If we don't reach our goal, no charges will be applied to your card. You don't lose any money, we do! But don't worry... we have a pretty good chance of succeeding here.
What happens if you exceed your $100,000 goal?
Any money in excess of what is needed for the complete digital conversion will be used to purchase new auditorium seats... bigger, more comfortable seats with cup-holders. We will replace as many of the old (1948) seats as we can, starting in the front center section and working our way back and to the side sections.
But I love FILM! Are you keeping your 35mm projector?
Sadly, we don't have space in the projection booth to keep the old projector. We will not be able to get first run movies on film to play after 2013 anyway. But, for a donation of $10,000 or more, we will ship you one of our 2 vintage Simplex X-L movie projectors, and you can watch all the 35mm film movies you can get your hands on! Just kidding, you will need a lot more than the projector to show movies. But what better way to share in the history of movies and the legacy of the Rogers City Theater.
Why don't you just buy the digital projector yourself, instead of fooling around with a Kickstarter campaign?
A fair question. The current owner has invested extensively in the Rogers City Theater over the past ten years. Frankly, he doesn't have any liquid cash left, and at his stage of life, doesn't think it's fair to potentially burden his kids with that kind of debt. But, hey! He's not complaining. He loves what he's doing and he loves movies. He just wants to know if other people feel the same. If the greater community wants a first class movie theater in downtown Rogers City, he is hoping they will support the cause and make a Kickstarter pledge.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The only issue may be the time it takes to install the new equipment; a time where we will have to temporarily shut down. We have talked with several theaters and companies who install digital equipment, and we believe that everything can be completed in two weeks. If we are able to install new seats as part of the project, it may take a little longer. We have dealt with issues from every perspective: building issues, equipment issues, movie issues, worker issues, and construction issues. Having run the Rogers Theater for the past ten years, I know there is nothing in this project that we cannot handle.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.