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Chico's Pageant Theatre, switch to digital or close

Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:30:47 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 08 2013 09:01:16 PM CST

The Pageant Theatre in Chico is facing the prospect of closing its doors if it can't come up with the funds to switch from a film reel projector to digital, and they are turning to online crowd source fundraising site Indiegogo to make it happen.

It may always be called the "film" industry but in the near future actual film reels will be relics of the past as Hollywood moves to digital.

And for small independent theaters like the Pageant, a Chico mainstay for 34 years, that change means they will have to make the switch or shut down, and that costs around $51,000.

"Every body is being hit by it at the same time," says Pageant Theatre co-owner Roger Montalbano, "and so it'll be interesting to see how many make it and how many don't or if this just becomes a quaint thing that happened for awhile and that everything goes into the big box theatre."

Open since 1979, Pageant Theatre co-owner Tim Giustan says projections are, "somewhere 10,000 screen will go dark because of the digital changeover."

The Pageant is hoping to avoid that fate and they have fired up a page on, a crowd source fundraising site, to make it happen.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, just hours after the page titled "Go Digital or Go Dark" went active, the Pageant Theatre has raised more than $10,000.

"A lot of people are going to jump on it and it'll slow off," says Guistan. "We're about, I figure about, 15-20 percent of the way. And it's going to go on until December 31st so we really want people to get out there and help us out because $51,000 isn't peanuts."

The owners says the Pageant is a unique place that will be missed by the owners personally and by the public as a whole.

"It'll be strange, you know, when you do something for 34 years and then you don't," says Guistan. "I don't know, it'll be very strange. In Chico, I'd miss it, but I think even more Chico will miss this theater and what it means to the community."

There will also be a benefit concert on December 11th featuring solo musician Jonathan Richman and Chico's own Christmas tribute band The Yule Logs.

If you would like to keep the theater up and running by donating to their fundraising effort, you can go to their Indiegogo page.

Or if you would like more information on the theater altogether, you can go to their website or to their Facebook page.