The end of 2012 also meant the end of a major event for Dormont’s Hollywood Theater—screenings of "Rocky Horror Picture Show."
The classic, campy film will no longer be shown at the Hollywood, unless the theater is able to make a big jump forward into the digital age.
"We're working right now to raise the money to get a digital film projecter," said Hollywood Theater manager Chad Hunter. "That's really becoming more and more important, and we're getting to the point where we'll depend on it for the future."
With the loss of "Rocky Horror," the theater's need for a digital projector and other equipment updates—at a cost of $75,000—became more prevalent than ever, Hunter said.
Hollywood Theater frequently shows movies on 35mm film, and when that format is unavailable—as is the case with "Rocky Horror" and many newer titles—the theater can purchase the rights to show the movie on DVD or BlueRay.
But in July, the Hollywood Theater staff and board members learned that Fox Studios, which owns the rights to "Rocky Horror Picture Show," would no longer make the movie rights available in those formats.
A film booker that Hollywood Theater works with was able to secure an extension that would allow the theater to run "Rocky Horror" through December.
Hunter thought the issue was resolved in October when he contacted Criterion Motion Pictures and got permission to continue running the film on DVD—but shortly afterward, Criterion stopped carrying Fox Studios films, and the Hollywood was back to square one.
Hollywood Theater had been showing "Rocky Horror Picture Show" twice a month. A live performance of "Rocky Horror" by the Junior Chamber of Commerce Players accompanied the film screenings.
"By doing 'Rocky Horror,' we're fulfilling a big part of the mission statement of the Hollywood Theater, which is to work with the community. The JCCP is a group of awesome younger folks from Dormont and around Pittsburgh," Hunter said. "The second thing, of course, is that it pulls in a lot of money for us."
About $10,000 has been raised toward the theater's $75,000 goal to go digital. Hunter said that's great start, but there's still a long way to go. He highlighted the issue and the "Go Digital or Go Dark" campaign in a recent blog entry on Dormont-Brookline Patch.
For now, the Hollywood's days of "Rocky Horror" have come to an end, but Hunter said he hopes it can make a return, sooner than later.
"This has been a huge blow with 'Rocky Horror' because it does quite well here," Hunter said. "It brings over 100 people every time. It's been nothing but a positive experience for us, and we want to bring it back."
Despite the loss of "Rocky Horror," the JCCP's connection with Hollywood Theater has not been broken. The group will return to the Hollywood in February for a live performance and screening of the 1985 film "Clue."
Check back with Dormont-Brookline Patch next week for a detailed article about Hollywood Theater’s effort to "Go Digital or Go Dark," and what you can do to help.