North Bend Theatre at Risk of Closing Doors, Asks for Community Help

A historic transition in the movie business is putting the North Bend Theatre, the Valley’s only movie theater, in NBTheater2danger of closing its doors.  The 1941 historic landmark is turning to the community; giving it a chance to decide just how important having a local movie theater really is…

Hollywood is going digital – when it comes to how they show their movies that is.  Digital movie theaters are becoming the norm nationwide, retiring the traditional film movies and the equipment that projects them onto the big screen.  It’s one of the biggest changes in film since the introduction of sound; a change that produces stunning images for movie patrons.

Hollywood studios are set to soon begin exclusively distributing their movies in digital form. So just as DVD’s made VHS movies antiques, small independent movie theaters are in danger of becoming VHS antiques  – unless they upgrade equipment to show digital films.

And the upgrade is not cheap, with computer-operated projector equipment running close to $100,000. Even though the North Bend Theatre is a sound business, owners, Cindy and Jim Walker, say they can’t afford the large cost. According to their fundraiser website, “As a family run business, we do not have the ability to finance this major capital expenditure from annual earnings, nor do we feel that it is an option to try to recoup the cost through higher ticket and concession prices.”

The Walkers bought the North Bend Theatre in 2006, and have worked to make the theater a vital part of the Snoqualmie Valley community, hosting and participating in numerous fundraisers along the way.  Now they’re turning to that community to help save the iconic theater, with an online fundraiser to pay for the digital movie projector upgrade; a move they say will keep North Bend Theatre doors open for generations to come.

In just one month the local community has responded, donating nearly $20,000 to keep the historic theater afloat.  The donation levels are even Hollywood-themed – from plaques on theater chairs, all the way to a star with the donator’s name on the sidewalk outside the theater. More donations are needed, though, if the Walkers are to reach their $100,000 goal.

If you would like more details and/or to donate to the North Bend Theatre visit the Save the North Bend Theatre fundraiser page.

Good Luck to Cindy and Jim and the North Bend Theatre.  It’s truly hard to imagine Bendigo Blvd without the theater’s historic facade and marquee lighting up the night.

NBTheatrei

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