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Will 3-D movies ever come to Kearney?
Brie Maaske
Antelope Staff
Photo by Brie Maaske
Kearney lacks 3-D capabilities which forces its residents to go as far as Omaha for a specialized movie.

“Up” grossed over $292 million. “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” grossed almost $302 million. “Avatar” has grossed over $533 million after hitting theaters just over a month ago.

3-D movies have become increasingly popular over the last year—so popular that even the popular sunglass company, Ray-Ban, is in the works of creating its own designer 3-D glasses.

While 3-D movies might be the next big thing, Kearney residents have to travel 45 miles to the closest 3-D capable movie theater for the experience, for now anyway.  

“What we have is 35 mm, which is essentially how everything got started back in the old days; they ran actual film through a projector,” said Matt Young, projection manager at Kearney Cinema 8. “Then there is digital, which is how you make it 3-D. Since we have 35 mm projectors at the moment, we don’t have 3-D capabilities.

However, Young said,  “I can tell you that in the future, we will be getting 3-D.”

With big movies like “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland” coming out in 3-D, Kearney Cinema 8 knows they are missing out.

“It hurts us because when big movies come out and they’re in 3-D, people want to watch them in 3-D, so they’ll go to Grand Island, Lincoln or Omaha. So they’ll go out of town, and we’re losing business. I’ve heard people say that they get three times the attendance with 3-D. The more realistic, conservative number is 1.5 to two times attendance with a 3-D movie if you have 3-D capabilities. And with increased attendance, you get increased concessions and things, which is more money for us.” Young said.

“We get a lot of people that complain that we don’t have 3-D. We actually have one employee who saw 'Avatar' five times, and three of those times he went out of town to see it, and he gets to watch the movies here for free."

The transformation to digital doesn’t come cheap. Young says that just the digital projector will cost a minimum of $20,000, and they will also need a polarizer, a new screen and the glasses for customers to watch the film with.

When exactly the theater will be getting 3-D capabilities is unknown. “The director of operations is the one who makes the call. I can influence him, but I can’t make the final call,” Young said.

3-D, coming soon to a theater near you, hopefully.


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