Lights out at Cinema 16:9; independent Lansdowne movie house to close its doors
LANSDOWNE — The closing credits are about to roll for Cinema 16:9.
The independent movie theater and DVD rental site will be closing its doors on Feb. 28 as a tenant in the old Lansdowne Theater.
“We have had to face the difficult reality that there are many obstacles that we would have to overcome in order to come to sustainability,” owner David Titus wrote on the theater’s website. “Our industry is changing.”
Titus’ decision to close the theater comes on the heels of new standards set by the movie industry.
Starting this year, the industry will stop producing 35mm film and theaters will need projection systems that are Digital Cinema Initiative compliant to show mainstream independent and blockbuster films. For a small theater like Cinema 16:9, it would cost $300,000 to do the upgrades.
However, if the projection upgrades were made the distributors would take a loss to show their films in such a small theater.
“The solution for us would be to move, and that would mean even more investment we’re not planning to make,” Titus said.
Opened in April 2009, Cinema 16:9 started as a one-theater cinema center specializing in independent and art house films. The theater also doubled as a movie rental center that offered thousands of DVDs and Blu-ray movies in all genres of film.
Since then it has opened two more screening rooms, screened hundreds of Academy Award-winning films and won a Best of Philly award in 2011 from Philadelphia Magazine.
“For nearly four years now, Cinema 16:9 has been my dream, creation, and work,” Titus wrote on the theater’s website. “There have been many challenges along the road, and there has been a tremendous amount of work put into making it what it is today.”