SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Another independent Bay Area movie theater is facing tough times. The operator of the Balboa Theater in San Francisco’s Richmond District said this summer will be his last at the movie house. This means the future of Balboa Theater is in question. This isn’t the first independent theater having a tough time staying afloat.

“When it was announced this year that if you don’t have digital projection by the end of 2012 you should close your doors because they’re not going to be making film prints anymore, I had to take a serious look and say ‘how can I justify $200,000?’ I don’t think I can afford to do that,” said Balboa operator Gary Meyers.

He said upgrades aren’t the only thing independent theaters can’t afford either.

KCBS’ Rebecca Corral Reports:

“The cost of operating the theater is rising, and there’s so much competition from other theaters,” said Meyers. “The studio will take on a big movie and take every theater they can get. It’s not unusual for a movie to open in nine theaters in the city alone on maybe 16 screens, and we’re only seven miles wide! Theaters are playing the movie a mile apart from each other.”

This means that sometimes when theaters feature a new movie there will be some showings when just a handful of people are in the theater, which isn’t enough to break even.

Meyer said it’s a sad trend because independent theaters are often the only place you’ll see indie films, documentaries, foreign films, and other critically-acclaimed movies considered too offbeat for a mass audience.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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