35 millimetre movies unavailable
© Heather Killen
Susan Mackintosh, manager of the Zedex,and husband Tim are closing the theatre for now -- until they can locate more 35-millimetre movies. The only other option is to go digital -- a minimum investment of $50,000.
By Heather Killen
As of October 25, the Zedex movie theatre in Greenwood will be closed for an undetermined period of time.
Susan Mackintosh, manager of the Zedex, said they found out earlier this week they couldn’t access any 35 milimetre films to show and the agent was not hopeful another would arrive this way anytime soon.
They could have held over “Prisoners” for another week, but didn’t know when they could find another title to replace it with and decided to close it down for now.
“We couldn’t get any new movies at all this week,” she said. “We’re hoping they will release some of the year-end blockbusters like “Hunger Games” and “The Hobbit” on 35 milimetre. As soon as we can access a new film, we will open again.”
She and her husband Tim took over the contract for the Zedex theatre in August 2009. This 178-seat theatre gives people in the Kingston/Annapolis area a chance to see new movies on the big screen, without the long drive to New Minas.
For the past several months, they have been closed three times due to a lack of available movies. They closed for a week in June and two weeks in July and announced the theatre may be eventually forced to close its doors permanently.
The Mackintoshes have an agreement with DND to lease the space and equipment in the building on 14 Wing Greenwood and in return, provide movies. They added they have a good relationship with the base and the surrounding community.
The problem is the 1945 film projector, once a top-of-the-line model, but nearly obsolete now that the movie industry is increasingly releasing new titles in digital formats making film reel projectors a thing of the past.
Finding new titles on 35 milimetre film is no easy task, she added. Movie studios only release a few titles on 35 milimetre film and there is a great demand for these films, she says. About 10 to 12 of these films are distributed across Canada and the competition is fierce among smaller theatres.
A new digital projector is estimated to cost as much as $50,000 and Mackintosh says that taking on a capital expense that large is not on the books for the business at this time.
She says that until recently the Zedex has been able to maintain access to new titles through cooperation with two other theatres in Nova Scotia, but these two theatres were converting over to digital formats.
Without a new digital projector, there’s a good chance the Zedex will be forced to close permanently. The last film, Prisoners, showed for the final night on October 24 and the doors will close today, October 25.
After that, it’s anyone’s guess what films will be coming this way, she says.