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Whiteville's only movie theater may close if it does not convert to digital

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- One of the oldest movie theaters in North Carolina faces an ultimatum; convert to digital, or close.

It's the only movie theater in Whiteville, but it may soon shut its doors.

Cinema 3 opened in 1928, and has been entertaining generations ever since. But new technology might force it out of business.

Glenda George, employee at Cinema 3, says has too much history to close.

"You came as a child, and your parent brought you. You came back as a teenager, and met with your friends. Then you met your first date, your first love, your first wife, and sometimes your second or third husband,” George said. “Then you came back and brought your own children."

She says she remembers her first trip to the movie theater to see "Gone with the Wind," so long ago, she had to sit in the balcony of the then segregated movie house.

Still, she has fond memories of the theater, as do others.

"It was very exciting,” Whiteville resident, Jerry Ganus said. “We felt like you know, this was one of the best things that could happen to us in Whiteville."

But those memories may fade if the theatre is forced to close.

George says they run their movies on a reel to platter system, but with the rise of digital technology, she says the film industry is phasing out the reel system, making it nearly impossible to find movies that can play at the theater.

So, they must convert to digital at a cost of 43-thousand dollars for each screen or face closing the 85-year-old movie theater.

George says closing is simply not an option, but she says she needs help from the community to keep this theatre alive.

"We're in the beginning phases of getting the word out there that we are going to convert,” George explained. “And with their pledges, their donations, contributions, we don't care what it is; we're going to do that."

George says she needs the community's help to reel in some money, and keep Cinema 3 open.

Click here for more information on how to help.

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That technology'll getcha!

Most theaters started planning for the digital move over 20 years ago or they closed their doors. Ya gotta keep up or you go by the way of the 8 track tape and VHS format.

No! Wait! Maybe Obama or Al Gore can find some obsolete science funding for you if you'll play global warming promotional videos! Send him an email!