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End of an era: Hollywood discontinues film, forces digital upgrade on Brantingham drive-in owner

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BRANTINGHAM — When the credits roll on the last movie this weekend at Valley Brook Drive-In, it will be the last film to run at the 61-year-old facility.

“It’s digital or nothing from now on,” owner Michael D. Dekin said.

Last year, Mr. Dekin and others in his line of work faced the decree from the motion picture industry that an upgrade to digital equipment would be mandatory. However, that action was delayed — until now.

Mr. Dekin said he received word recently from his Hollywood suppliers that if he wants to open next year, he’ll have no choice but to go digital.

“There’s already no film left,” he said.

The new equipment comes with a hefty price tag.

“The lowest I can find is $51,000,” Mr. Dekin said, “That’s a demo model.”

Though a used item such as the demo model “seems like the best option,” he said, “there’s no guarantees.”

Because the equipment is so new, no one knows how long it will last.

A brand new system costs closer to $60,000.

“That’s astronomical to a business only open three months out of the year,” Mr. Dekin said.

“Hollywood takes 60 to 70 percent right off the top,” he said. He noted his admission prices are much lower than indoor movie theaters. Admission to the drive-in for adults is $5, with children ages 7 to 11 charged $1 and children younger than 7 admitted free.

This weekend’s showing is a triple feature of “Planes,” “Despicable Me 2” and “Grown Ups 2.” The first movie starts at sunset.

Mr. Dekin said he isn’t sure how he will raise the money to reopen next year, but is confident, he said, “one way or another, we will be open next spring.”

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