An online fundraiser to digitize the Peterborough Community Theatre needs to raise another $25,000 by Wednesday, April 3, to reach its $45,000 goal.
As of last Thursday afternoon 254 people had contributed to a total of $20,196, but if the kickstarter.com fundraiser doesn't reach $45,000 by 2:27 p.m. on the set date, none of the donations would be processed, theater officials said.
The 99-year-old movie theater needs to upgrade to digital from 35 mm film so it can remain open, owners Roy and Judy Mills of Hancock said.
Like many operators of independent movie houses across the country the Mills are feeling the pressure to "go digital or go dark."
The technology shift already is hurting the theater, which premieres blockbusters as well as smaller art films.
"We'll just play film as long as we can get it while we fundraise," Judy Mills said. "But it will get harder and harder. There will be a point where we can't."
The theater was able to premiere the blockbuster "Oz the Great and Powerful" earlier this month, but only because the studio pushed a wide release and issued more film copies than usual, Mills said.
But plans to run the recently released comedy "Identity Theft" were squashed this month when the Mills learned the movie had only been released in digital form, Mills said.
Mills said the kickstarter.com fundraiser has worked for other theaters faced with the need for a technology upgrade.
Mills said if the online fundraiser fails they will continue to raise money through the summer.
"I think we're going to make it. It's going to be tough, but when push comes to shove we're going to pull through," Mills said.
She added the theater's 100th birthday is in September 2014.
"I really want to see it open for that birthday," Mills said.
To donate or to learn more go online to kickstarter.com and search for Peterborough.
Mills said they are also taking direct donations since some people are not comfortable donating online. Contributors can make checks out to the Peterborough Community Theater and in the memo line right for "equipment fund for digital conversion."
The Mills can be reached at email@example.com or 260 Bennington Road, Hancock, 03449.