Final act for film at Wilton's Town Hall Theater as owner eyes going digital
Dennis Markaverich, owner of the Wilton Town Hall Theater, said loading film is a thing of the past and digital is the only way to go. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)
Motion picture companies have been threatening to stop making film versions of popular movies because they cost so much to produce, Markaverich said. An average film runs around $10,000 as opposed to a digital version that costs around $150.
But the equipment to run digital is expensive. Markaverich estimates it will cost $50,000 to put a new projector in the smaller, 68-seat theater, and close to $100,000 for the equipment for the large, 312-seat theater. Instead of film, the movies are now hard drives that are sent to each theater. Once installed in the projector, which is wired to the Internet, the operator has to enter a key code in order to use the hard drive. There are some advantages, like not having to load film and having the system remotely monitored for problems, but if cable goes down in Wilton, it may be impossible to make the projector work, Markaverich said.
Markaverich owns the theater and the equipment to run it, but the space is leased from the town of Wilton, which makes securing a loan in order to modernize difficult, if not impossible. But the community is rallying around the theater owner.
Markaverich has jars out on the counter at the refreshment stand, where he proudly sells popcorn made with real butter, and has been collecting small donations from folks. He’s also set up a fund at a local bank in order for folks to donate conveniently.
Local businesses and residents have offered to host fundraisers for the project, but Markaverich said he’s been hesitant to take them up on the offer just yet.
Closing the season in style