Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

April 18, 2013

A Royal Conversion: Theater makes switch to digital — The path of tomorrow is one guaranteed to always bring with it change and one industry that is always leaving the past behind is the technology which makes watching movies possible.

Taking that realization to heart is Royal Twin Theater Owner Michael Brewer, who has for the past couple of years been working to find a way to move on from the film reels of days gone by and convert everything over to the digital side. As of this week he finally was able to see the process go full speed ahead, setting aside a few days for construction crews to take out the old equipment and put in both updated screens as well as surround sound.

“It’s going to be a spectacular experience for us and the customer,” said Brewer, adding the improvements include four speakers behind every screen and along the walls. “It’s going to be state of the art… People are going to be amazed at the difference in sound.”

It was a move seen as a necessity for Brewer, not only because of the chance to bring a better entertainment experience to the customer, but became the only way the theater could continue to stay open and show new movies well into the future. It has become more difficult in recent years to get movies in the older film format as more studios have almost gone completely away from putting out copies on anything other than digital.

Making it possible is a note provided through Pauls Valley National Bank and the advice of several of Brewers close associates. He decided against using anything like grants or a fundraising drive to support the project with hopes people from the region who have made it a tourist destination for years continue to keep things financially secure that way.

“The main reason is this is a have to project, either that or close down,” said Brewer, noting how the theater is the last one in Garvin County and means too much to lose after about 90 years in business. “We’re not going to close… I’ve had multiple people asking me to please keep the theater open.”

However, even while Brewer knows these upgrades will mean people will be able to come back for years to come, he can’t help but feel sentimental to a format he’s known most of his life. There was always pride that came with keeping the film and projectors clean so other theaters could show the same reels and the plan is to at least find somewhere like the Depot Museum to donate some of the old equipment.

“In a way I’m so attached to film I hate to see it go,” said Brewer, who has been involved with the theater since his dad got him working there in third grade. “It’s like losing an old friend… it’s like your best friend is going away forever.”

The keys to success are already there for Brewer, like the crew that works the lobby every night, yet in the end he gives quite a bit of the credit to his wife for over 40 years, Reave. She has been there nearly every night the box office has been open since they were married and is a big part of why the hometown atmosphere continues to thrive through so many visits.

As for prices, Brewer wanted to assure people that tickets will not be going up because of the upgrades and the only thing he may charge for once it is added later is glasses to watch 3D. Much of what he can add depends on how quickly the bank note is paid off, but promised more upgrades are possible if the new features bring in enough to cover expenses.

Brewer plans to open the theater back up Friday for the first movies in the new format and even hold an open house where people can check out all the features during BrickFest May 3-4.

“That theater has served hundreds of thousands of people looking for motion picture entertainment,” said Brewer, noting how with less work needed to get movies started, there will be even more attention now given to ensure customer satisfaction in the lobby and while watching. “The nice thing about keeping theater in PV is they won’t have to go out of town to see a movie.”

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