News Column

Grand Cinema raises $370,000 to go digital by deadline of next year

September 26, 2013


Sept. 26--Tacoma's Grand Cinema has the cash to meet the deadline set by film studios for digital projection, the theater said Wednesday.

The Grand said in December that it was fundraising for $344,000 to convert its four theaters to digital projectors by next year, when studios will stop providing movies for 35mm film projectors.

By Sept. 15, it had $370,000.

That means in the first couple weeks in November they'll make the big switch, one theater at a time in order to stay open during the conversion.

"People will be seeing the best images they've ever seen here at The Grand," executive director Philip Cowan said.

Screen and sound system upgrades will complement the new projectors, he added.

One of the screens will be able to show films in both the new format and 35mm prints, so that the theater will still be able to show older films, Cowan said.

Multiplexes and theater chains were the first to make the switch to digital. It's independent theaters such as The Grand that scrambled to get the $75,000-plus required for the digital projectors.

The Blue Mouse Theatre in Tacoma's Proctor neighborhood and Eatonville's Roxy Theatre both raised funds and converted earlier this year.

The Skyline Drive-In movie theater near Shelton reopened Sept. 20, after the digital equipment it installed in August was damaged by lightning and had to be repaired.

Information about the Olympia Film Society's ongoing campaign to raise money for a digital projector at the Capitol Theater can be found at


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