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Historic Chapel Hill theater in danger of going dark

Posted December 22, 2014
Updated December 23, 2014

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— A movie theater that has been a prominent landmark in Chapel Hill for decades could soon close if it can't secure the funding it needs to upgrade its operations to the latest technology.

Varsity Theatre, at 123 E. Franklin St., has started a campaign – "Go Digital or Go Dark" – on the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter to raise $50,000 to convert its projection equipment from film to digital, a move that would align it with current industry standards.

The movie industry has announced that it will stop producing movies on 35mm film. Larger theaters and chains are already using digital projectors, but smaller, independent ones, like Varsity, cannot afford the upgrades.

As of Monday, with 54 days to go, the theater had raised $18,250.

The historic theater, which opened its doors in 1927, has struggled in recent years, partly because of the competition with larger theaters.

Varsity closed in 2009 but later reopened under new ownership.


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