County’s lone theater closes
By GREGG RETTIG
The only movie theater in Madison County has closed.
The State Theatre, located in downtown London, has closed. Its owner, George Peyton, said he cannot make the required digital updates required to show today’s first-run movies. He said on his Facebook account that he may consider renting out the building for events.
The Press tried repeatedly to contact Peyton via phone but was not successful.
“For 76 years, the London State Theatre has provided London with quality entertainment,” Peyton wrote. ”Beginning with Earth Worm Tractors and most recently with Django Unchained, the State has given London a reason to stay in town and enjoy themselves, keeping business local.
“However, even a recent remodel to bring back a lot of the glory of the old State Theatre, was not enough to keep it from falling behind the times.
“It is with a sad heart that we at the London State Theatre announce the eventual closing of the theatre. The dismal state of our economy has made required digital upgrades, necessary for the projection of newer movies, all but impossible. The digital conversion, is in fact, killing small theaters across the country. If you’re wondering what the ‘digital conversion’ is, it’s the decision of the film industry to stop distributing 35mm movies due to lack of availability. The cinema means everything to us here, and to not be able to provide London with the latest releases, pains us. A lot of these releases could even be seen on opening night, which is something that a lot of smaller theaters have problems providing.
This decision has been weighing on us since the announcement of the mandatory conversion. The hope was that something could be done, or a way around it could be found. It was as sad inevitability though, and there’s no way we could make the conversion. We wish there was a different outcome to this. Serving the community has been an absolute joy to us. We felt good about giving the youth a safe place to meet. To give parents a place they were happy to take their children to. To be able to provide adults a cinema experience on par with a lot of big city theaters. All of this just makes the decision harder on us, however, as we carry on to close the doors.
This isn’t to say, we won’t have any services to provide. While it pains us that we can’t bring you newer movies anymore, we will still have the capability of projecting pre digital movies. Which means that we can still provide a space for private parties. We will also, from time to time, open up for a couple weeks at a time, for a special showing of our choice. Like we said, we love the cinema, and if we wanted to watch a print of Evil Dead, or Wizard of Oz, or anything in between, we are going to want to share that with our city. We’ll open up the doors just like nothing happened, and welcome you all in to watch the movies with us.