Rochester, N.Y. – Two local movie theaters are going digital. The Dryden and Little theaters are getting digital projection equipment and other capabilities.
Movie distributors are pressuring theaters to go digital, as it is how they now deliver films. It’s difficult for independent, nonprofit operators to pick up the cost. The Little got a $180,000 state economic development grant to make the transition. The Dryden is using a state grant and money from donors.
The Dryden and Little don’t plan to ditch their film projectors. The Dryden frequently shows films from the George Eastman House’s vast collection.
The Dryden is also undergoing a major renovation. It will close to the public on January 2 and reopen in March. The theater, which opened in 1951, will get new seats, carpeting and painting. The Dryden started selling the old seats last week and they are almost gone.
“I can’t say that anybody’s going to get a seat that Fred Astaire sat in or Isabella Rosellini,” said Caroline Yeager, assistant curator for the theater. “Louise Brooks sat in these seats. Gloria Swanson sat in these seats.”