The battle to save a small movie theater is finished, and the curtains won't go down on the historic Screenland Armour Theatre in North Kansas City.
In February, an online fundraiser was started to pay for a portion of Armour Theatre's digital conversion. The fundraiser was a success, and the theater was able to raise enough money for a down payment on a loan to keep movies playing on the big screen.
Now, a new goal has been added to pay for the entire cost of going digital.
The Screenland Armour has been entertaining those in the North Kansas City community and beyond for the past 85 years, and its owners said they weren't going to let it go dark.
"It's an old style of going to the movies - there's something unique about it," co-owner Adam Roberts said.
But Hollywood's digital conversion threatened the cinema's livelihood, and 35mm film had run its course.
"There just weren't prints available," Roberts said.
Movie distributors and studios are forcing theaters to upgrade projectors by mid-2013 or else they will stop providing movies to show because they only make new movies in digital format now. Studios paid for big-box theaters like AMC to make the switch, but independent cinemas were left out of the deal and many of them closed because they couldn't afford the new technology.
"Big movies we'd get but a lot of things we wanted to get, there just weren't prints available," Roberts said. "So we had to find a solution quickly because, by the end of this year, there wouldn't be hardly any film prints available, and we wouldn't be a theatre."
Armour Theatre owners said they won't be one of them.
"These guys from Sonic are installing our new equipment," Roberts said as he watched crews tear down the old film reels to make way for new projectors.
With the help of the fundraising site Kickstarter, the theater raised $20,000.
"We appreciate all the support," Roberts said.
That money was used to put a down payment on a loan for new equipment, and the projector booth is being gutted during the updates.
"We get two new projectors, a new screen, new sound, new lights, new everything up there," Roberts said.
The owners are asking for more donations to foot the total $110,000 bill - the cost of the new projectors. They've stretched the goal to $50,000 in the next 16 days and are hopeful the old theater will be making history into the future.
"We have a lot of awesome fans, and hopefully a lot of people to support us for the next 10 to 15 years," Roberts said.
By Friday, people should be watching digital movies at the Screenland Armour.
A big private party for the patrons is in the works and the owners are planning on a grand reopening the first week of May, when Iron Man 3 comes out.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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