DIGITAL film projection technology is taking over but the initial cost of equipment could leave small country town movie theatres in the dark.
It is predicted that within two years, all the major Australian distributors will stop supplying 35mm prints of new release films.
Even now a diminishing availability of 35mm films means many country theatres are having to wait longer and longer for popular movies.
It is a serious issue for the Leeton Roxy Theatre, according to manager Melissa Stafford.
Last year the Roxy bought two second-hand projectors but because they are not in line with industry standard it will become progressively harder for the theatre to secure movies.
She said that because the Roxy does not receive films until they have been out for at least four weeks, many people travel across to Griffith to see films on the release date.
Temora Town Hall Theatre Management is hoping Temora Shire Council can come to their aid to provide loan funding for the neccesary digital upgrades.
Manager of the Temora theatre Beth Firman said it was a huge focus because of the long wait to get 35mm films.
At present half the theatres at Forum 6 Cinemas are digital while the other three still run under conventional film projection.
Manager of the cinema Craig Lucas said the shift toward digital movie theatres was moving forward and it was something that had myriad benefits – particulary that there is no degradation of film print.
A film running for a few weeks under the conventional projection system has less clarity than a digital film which does not change no matter how many times it is played.
“I quite like it as an option, it’s better for the customer, exhibitors and film distributors – it is a total win,” he said.
He could not put a time span on when Forum 6 would fully convert to digital because there was such a large waiting list across Australia and a subsidy concept was being worked through by distributors to encourage conversion, which has high initial installation costs.
Mr Lucas said it would cost half a million dollars to fully convert Forum 6 into the digital era.