UPDATE: Stanley Theater fights to stay open

With the digital changes comes a $60,000 upgrade which is more than the theater can afford. Stanley Theater launched a Kickstarter campaign to help with funds.

Stanley, WI (WEAU) - Now to an update on a story WEAU first brought you on Sunrise.

A local landmark theater forced to go digital is still fundraising to keep its doors open. As of Tuesday morning, July 8th, the Stanley movie theater has $49,000 dollars in pledges of the needed $60,000.
The money will help purchase new digital projectors, upgrade the sound system, and cost of installation.

It’s among the last 5% of theaters in the U.S. needing to transition. Last month, a kick starter campaign was launched to raise funds. There’s still $11,000 needed for fundraising


Stanley, WI (WEAU) - With the revolving door of technology comes high-tech upgrades, but sometimes painful setbacks.

Just this year, almost 38,000 of the 40,000 movie theater screens in the U.S. have been converted to digital. But the Stanley movie theater is among the 5% left to transition so now it’s a question of raising funds or closing doors.

“Back then it was the fanciest place between Minneapolis and Milwaukee,” says Theresa Pries, family owner.

It's a landmark you've probably driven by in Stanley and if you've stepped inside you'll hear the popcorn popping and rewind to 1936 when this movie theater was born.

"When my mom bought it in 1968, it was bright green. It was mint green. It was a different material and it was a landmark in a sense because it was the green theater and kind of obnoxious," says Theresa.

For practically a lifetime, the theater's belonged to Theresa Pries and her family. Everyday they strive to conserve and restore history inside a place the community can call home.

Theresa says, "When I was little my favorite seat was the one down front, the first one on the left."

Although the theater lost Theresa's father last year, he still has his place in the projector room.

Pries says, "He was up here to be the first line of defense and this is the sanity of my dad's chair and little bit of history."

It’s in the projector room where history could change and 35mm reels would disappear from the movie industry.

Theresa points to a 35mm reel and says, "This has what we've been accustomed to, but this to will come extinct because we will have to transition to digital."

Not only will film become extinct, but so will the spooling process and the sounds that bring movies to life.

With the digital changes comes a $60,000 upgrade which is more than the theater can afford. If the theater were to shut down, it would hurt families like Cara's.

"It's the closest theater for Thorp, for us here in Stanley, Boyd. They do you know, the schools bus kids even from Owen Withee,” says Cara Zais, Stanley Theatergoer.

So Theresa's family has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and keep the doors open. It would keep traditions among Theresa’s family and the community alive.

Cara says, "I think without the Stanley Theater, Stanley just isn't Stanley anymore."

If you would like to donate, click the link under the picture above.

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