News 8 Eye Piece: The End Film

Rivoli Theatre makes switch to digital projectors

The Rivoli Theatre has been showing films in downtown La Crosse since the 1920s.

The final film was shown earlier this week, as the Rivoli changed its second projector, in the Screening Room, over to digital.

“I think there was a soothing sound to the projector running in the background when you’re sitting in a movie theatre. You hear, it’s almost like a purring from the booth behind you,” said Rivoli Senior Manager Matthew Schumann.

When he was hired in 1995, the first movie he helped string up was “Pulp Fiction.” It played at the Rivoli for a year straight.

“That was back when movies could play for a year straight before they went to DVD,” Schumann said.

Showing movies in film print became more difficult starting about two years ago.

“Like a big movie, it opened on 3,000 screens, well, you could get 3,000 film prints a decade ago, but as of two years ago, film prints, you’d probably get a dozen,” Schumann said.

There were so few movies available in film print that he had to switch to digital in the main theatre. About two years later, the Screening Room has now made the switch to digital.

Schumann likens going to the movies to that of a dream state, no matter the technology behind it.

“It’s like going somewhere where you know you’re going to have this shared dream with all these people. And, I think that’s still there with digital. I don’t think that’s going to go away.”

The last film shown at the Rivoli was “Insurgent.”  The old projector will be put in storage, in case they ever have a place where they can set it up again to show old films.