Pledges could help theater make digital switch

The Rialto Theater in Grayling needs help raising funds to make the digital conversion.

Long anticipated changes to the motion picture industry are taking effect in the new year. Feature films will no longer be made on film. Theaters need to upgrade to digital systems if they plan to show new movies. The upgrade carries a $50,000â??$80,000 price tag.

The Rialto Theater in Grayling needs help coming up with the money to make the switch.

â??We can be a driver of economic growth in Grayling,â?? said Jordan Stancil, Rialto Theater operator. â??We just need to get this capital investment done and we'll do it.â??

The theater in Grayling needs a big chunk of change to keep up with technology demands. That's why the family-run theater is counting on a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds.

â??There are four thousand communities where their theater is threatened with closure if they do not come up with the investment in the next few months,â?? said Stancil.

The Rialto Theater has been part of the Grayling community since 1915.

â??Thousands of people, over five generations of Grayling's history that have had experiences here. So it's important,â?? said Stancil. â??People say to me, they like that they can drop their kids off here. It's something you just can't do anywhere else.â??

Losing the theaterâ??s business could be a hard hit to other local businesses.

â??We have customers every day. When they leave here, they go eat, they have a drink. I think that has a really positive effect on the economy,â?? said Stancil.

The small town theater is asking for hundred thousand dollars to help upgrade to a digital projector, redo the audio system, make upgrades to seating, and restore the historic building.

â??We need people to go on there and essentially purchase the stuff we're offering on the Kickstarter website. You can get movie tickets, memorabilia, and a lot of other cool stuff,â?? explained Stancil.

It is not so much a donation, as it is a commitment to doing business with the theater. With a pledge of $25, donors will receive two movie tickets, pop and popcorn, and a Rialto sticker.

You can make a pledge by visiting the theaterâ??s website.

The Kickstarter project runs through February 28. The way that the system works, if the goal is not reached, the theater will not get any of the money raised. None of the donors will be charged.

â??We're lucky in this region we still have a lot of our small town theaters. If you go to other parts of the country that's not the case,â?? said Stancil.