Just days away from the fund-raising deadline, supporters of the Colusa Theater railed to help the Colusa landmark business continue its operation.
Mike Wilkinson, the owner of the Colusa Theatre commented that the combined fundraising efforts for the transition to digital projection has nearly met its goal and is moving forward.
On Sunday, February 23rd, the Colusa Theater hosted its last fundraising event with a showing of ‘Tick…Tick…Tick…’
Hundreds showed up to the event, filling the theater to capacity.
“We sold out!” said Theater Employee Dave Bishop, “I have never had to sit in the box office and tell people we were sold out, it was a first for me.”
Several months ago Wilkinson was confronted with a dilemma that is sweeping the industry nation-wide; he and other small theaters were forced to switch to all-digital technology as traditional 35 millimeter film becomes obsolete.
The upgrade comes at a cost of over $60,000.
“I initially thought I was going to close the doors,” said Wilkinson, “but I had a friend who visited and gave me the suggestion of fundraising.”
Although Wilkinson was not initially a fan of the idea of fundraising, the community changed his mind.
“I was told, ‘It’s not for you – It’s for the community’,” said Wilkinson, “It opened my eyes when the community came together wanting to keep the theatre alive.”
“I am humbled and impressed by all the support we’ve gained from the community,” said Wilkinson.
The theater had hosted a couple of fundraising events, and participated in an online Kick-Starter campaign that fell far short of the goal; that was until digital projection company, Barco learned of the theaters dilemma through a televised news report on KCRA Channel 3 News.
“I was contacted by a representative at Barco located out of Rancho Cordova, and they offered to sell us a fully installed digital projection system for $40,000,” said Wilkinson.
With the combination of previous fundraising events, generous donation from the Colusa Rotary, Wilkinson agreed to host a final fund-raiser with the help of Colusa local, Rusty Chambers.
“Rusty approached me and wanted to have a showing of ‘Tick… Tick… Tick…’ and charging only a $1 admission,” said Wilkinson, “so I gave it a go.”
“After I attended the Highway 20 benefit concert I realized that the theater needed more help than just one concert,” said Chambers, “$50k is a lot of money.”
“I choose, ‘Tick…Tick…Tick…’ because it was filmed in Colusa,” Chambers added, “and I wanted to do something that would grab everyone’s attention and I had a feeling that movie would do the trick.”
As the word got out, the lines formed around the building.
“I asked Dave at the box office what our sales were, and he said 275,” said Chambers, “I looked at the line backed up to 6th Street and realized we were not going to have enough seats.”
The event packed the theater to capacity at 325, and an encore was scheduled for the following day in which an estimated 125 people attended.
Tickets were $1; vintage movie memorabilia was auctioned off, and the showing of a movie filmed in downtown Colusa, who wouldn’t want to attend!
“With the raffle, auction and movie presentation I believe we had a huge success,” said Chambers, “bringing the silver screen closer to entertaining us for many years to come!”
“It brought tears to my eyes, seeing all the different people show up and enjoy themselves all for a great cause,” said Bishop, “Colusa is an amazing community.”
As Wilkinson begins the next step in upgrading the theater there is one event still in the works.
“We are planning some sort of thank you party at the theater,” said Wilkinson, “we want to give our thanks to everyone who helped make our progress possible.”