The much anticipated digital movie projector has been installed in the local theater.
Much like Hollywood operates – out with the old, and in with the new, Wellington's Regent Theater, 114 W. Lincoln, began the second chapter of its new era this week with the installation of a digital projector.
"We'll have the same picture quality that the Warren [Theater, in Wichita] does," said the Regent's Jerry Fike. "Digital is digital. Our sound is going to be phenomenal." The old, film projector was taken out of the theater on Monday. It had been maintained over the decades with a kind of work that one Dr. Frankenstein would appreciate.
Part of the film projector is from the 1940's, another piece is older than that, and the "newest" portion of the machine dates back to the 80's. Even before The Regent re-opened in 2010, ownership knew the projector upgrade was essential for the future.
"This will bring movies to Wellington faster," said JC Long, Regent Theater investor. "We won't be so far behind Hollywood." Finding the film for the old projector was becoming increasingly more difficult by the week.
"We had to hold off until the big boys decided to let go of a print," Fike explained. "Then there was a feeding frenzy of theaters like us trying to get the prints." Now, instead of film canisters, movies will come to the theater on a hard drive.
"The hard drive will come in and a day later, you'll get a code," Fike continued. "You can't use one without the other." The Regent's ownership said the new projector cost "a lot" of money, and obtaining it would not have been possible without the support of the community.
"The advertisers really made this possible," said Colby Zeka. "Along with a couple of large, anonymous contributions." Now, a local icon has been modernized, and can continue to provide an entertainment venue for people young and old.
"It gives our town another amenity," Zeka said. "It keeps the tradition alive of everyone that's ever grown up here, going to this theater."
The first movie that will be shown on the digital projector is Steven Spielburg's "Lincoln" from Feb. 8 to Feb. 11. The weekend after that will feature the musical "Les Miserables," and the weekend after that the horror movie "Mama" will play at The Regent.