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Dubuque's Mindframe Theater Seeks Help with Digital Switch

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DUBUQUE, Iowa - Some locally owned movie theaters are scrambling to keep their screens from fading to black. That's because most major film studios announced they'll soon do away with 35-mm film and instead only distribute digital movies.

The digital conversion will cost the Mindframe Theater $300,000. That's why they're asking customers to see an additional movie or buy another bag of popcorn.

Through a small hole, high above the theater seats, images on film come to life, transferring you to a different time and place.

"It's personal. You feel like you are part of it," said movie lover Renee Downs said.

As early as July, Mindframe's old projectors will become nothing more than nostalgia.

"The film studios want to do it simply because it's cheaper," said Steve Thompson, Mindframe Owner.

Film studios expect to save $1 billion each year through the digital conversion. That will come from not having to build and ship the giant reels.

As for Mindframe, a six screen theater, replacing that equipment will cost right around $300,000.

That's money they hope to come up with one popcorn bag at a time.

Thompson said, "If everybody does that, that could be enough to get us over that bump and get us started."

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