After a hundred plus years, the movie-going experience is embedded in America’s DNA. Movies offer the simple joy of expectantly settling into your theater seat and watching the screen come alive. They bring the sweet intimacy of sharing a show with your date, your friends or your children in the air-conditioned darkness on a hot summer day. They wrap us in warmth following dinner and a stroll through snow covered streets. Movies offer the perfect hangout for teenagers and the affordable opportunity for senior citizens to see a matinee. They light up the dark night and bring us together on a rainy day. The RFA Lakeside Theater, in the heart of downtown, is Rangeley’s movie house and center for entertainment, student programs and social activity.
Rangeley is home to generations of local families, relocated citizens, snowbirds, snow bunnies, retirees and seasonal families spending the entire summer. Rangeley is also a favorite with tourists, snowmobilers, outdoor enthusiasts, AT hikers, boaters, and day trippers. The region has a rich history of outdoor sporting. Our quaint downtown, with its friendly shops, restaurants, and local services is a destination for culture and commerce. Rangeleyâ€™s summer population grows nearly ten-fold and most visit downtown during their vacation. The Lakeside Theater stands in the center of it all offering a homey gathering place, where people of can connect and mingle on Main Street, appreciating the amazing vistas and fresh mountain air, taking in an art show, a performance or a movie, or stopping by a favorite place to share a cafÃ© mocha, a pizza or a gourmet meal. It is all within walking distance.
Rangeley is loved by all of us. We are proud of our town and committed to making it the best it can be. That is why The RFA Lakeside Theater is responding to the community’s call to bring back first-run movies and why the Rangeley Friends of the Arts is behind this initiative to revitalize our downtown business district. In the past year, a focus group and multiple business owners suggested we help bring back first-run movies. Currently, to see a first-run show, community members have to drive an hour out of town and when they go, they take their spending power with them. Local merchants and service persons are suffering for the lost revenue. In the spirit of being good neighbors, serving our town and supporting the Arts, the RFA has pledged its efforts to promote becoming a first-run movie house. We plan to keep it local and make it great again!
In 2015 movie formatting changed dramatically. That’s when the industry adopted a digital format which requires that movies be shipped on a hard drive that is secured and accessed only by a specific type of connector. To show first-run movies, the Theater needs an expensive digital projector and needs to make upgrades to its existing sound system. Estimated costs are $50,000-$80,000 due to fluctuations in pricing for after-market equipment. Once the Theater has the equipment it still has to pay Licensing Fees, which range from $250 to $1000 per movie. Currently the RFA has the equipment to show movies on DVD/BLU RAY. That’s how the Theater has been keeping the big screen lit-up with classic favorites, special features and recent releases.
We are in a rapidly evolving film industry. Based on historical attendance data, admissions alone at $5 pp have not been able to sustain the costs of running a dedicated movie theater. Community theaters across the country have been diversifying in order to continue to succeed. Your financial commitment toward the purchase of new equipment is a good investment in the community’s social and economic health. It will provide necessary equipment the theater needs to become a full service, first-run movie house. It will enhance opportunities for Rangeley’s sustainability efforts.
A first-run movie theater:
â€¢ Brings teenagers into town and offers them an uplifting social experience
â€¢ Lights up Main Street and revitalizes our downtown business district
â€¢ Gives seniors and families accessible low-cost entertainment
â€¢ Broadens the Lakeside Theater’s repertoire. By becoming an arts center that also offers first run movies, it becomes a year-round destination that energizes downtown business activity.
The RFA has 50 years of organizational experience and fiscal management as well a dedicated board, staff and volunteers who want to meet the needs of the community. Since the RFA took ownership of the movie theater in 2013, the non-profit has expanded its programming and social services. The RFA is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our community and our business district.
Community volunteers, donors and local business owners are committed to providing their financial support to help purchase the new equipment needed for first-run movies, however, this is a tall order for a small town in rural Maine. We need your support. Your gift will turn this vision into reality. You will touch all of the lives that have made Rangeley such a special place for us to live, to work, to play and to treasure for the generations to come.
Once we reach the initial $80,000 goal, we will purchase the best products at the best prices at that time. All donations toward the new equipment are placed in a restricted account at Franklin Savings Bank in Rangeley. We hope you will join our community leaders in creating movie magic for our town. Thank you. The volunteers at the RFA appreciate your support. To Donate to this initiative, click Below.
This article was written by Rangeley News Hound