Majestic Theater highlighted in AP report on digital threat to historic movie houses

Gettysburg College’s Majestic Theater is the centerpiece of an Associated Press video report on how next year’s industry-wide switch from film to digital projection threatens historic movie houses across the nation.

Replacing traditional film projectors is “financially daunting,” Majestic Founding Executive Director Jeffrey Gabel said in the June 19 report, which was featured on Yahoo’s homepage and in the Washington Post’s Lifestyle section.

“That’s approximately $125,000 for this small town,” Gabel said, which is more than the Majestic’s annual gross income from films.

Majestic on YahooThe news section of the Majestic’s website put it bluntly, citing “the Majestic Theater's need to change to Digital Cinema or Close the Movies forever.”

For information on making tax-deductible gifts to the Majestic Digital Cinema Campaign, contact Gabel at jgabel@gettysburg.edu or 717-337-8234.

“The Majestic has always enjoyed good luck and this is one more example," Gabel said. "The AP reporter was looking for a picturesque, small town, historic theater to serve as a national model for the challenges to converting to all digital cinema, and after a quick Google search, he found the Majestic. The story was only released on the AP wire yesterday, and I’ve already heard from theater colleagues in Maine, Florida and California.” 

The Majestic opened in 1925 as a vaudeville and silent movie theater. A $16-million restoration, completed in 2005, was a partnership of Gettysburg College, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Greater Adams County community. Leading national experts in theater design and historic restoration used archival photographs, original architectural drawings, and on-site investigation to recreate the original opulence of the 816-seat main auditorium. The project also created a pair of movie theaters with stadium seating, modernized backstage production facilities, brought safety systems up to code, and improved patron amenities.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Jim Hale, associate director of editorial services

Posted: Wed, 20 Jun 2012

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