Movie in the Park

Everyone likes to get away for a while, to escape their worries and the daily grind and escape, even if it is just for a couple of hours.

One of the best ways to do that is by going to the movies, where audiences are taken on an adventure, made to laugh or cry, and even given a chance to think.

Don’t believe us? Then let’s look at the numbers. The top three grossing movies of 2011 (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”) made $947.5 million.

However, people throughout the North Country may soon lose their access to Hollywood, and it will be Hollywood’s fault.

You see, by the end of next year, every motion picture studio will be making the change-over to 100-percent digital distribution. Your children will soon view 35mm film in the same way they view dial-up internet connections, phones with cords, floppy disks and cell phones you could not text on.

So how are the movie companies helping theaters out? In the case of several small, independently owned local establishments, they are not. Their message is loud and clear: either pay an average of $100,000 per screen to convert to digital or find yourself as extinct as the featured characters in “Jurassic Park.”

Another option is to lease the digital equipment from the movie companies. Sounds good, right? Wrong. Any theater that entered into a lease would be under the control of, “the man,” only being able to show the movies given to them by the companies. For places like the Palace Theater in Lake Placid, the Hollywood in Au Sable Forks or the Strand in Schroon Lake, this would mean all of the special shows that they put on during the holidays or to support local volunteers would go out the window.

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