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Projector problems close Morris Theatre for four days

MORRIS – The Morris Theatre was closed from Saturday, Nov. 23 through the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 27 due to problems with the power supply on the theater’s new digital projector.

The projector issues surfaced on Saturday night at the beginning of the 7 p.m. showing of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Patrons waited about an hour while theatre volunteers were on the phone with technical support before that evening’s showing was cancelled, theatre board member Dave Aronson said.

It turned out that both of the power supplies on the projector were broken, and new parts needed to be shipped from the manufacturer in California.

Before the parts were shipped, technicians with Barco, the projector manufacturer, discovered more problems, Aronson said.

Late Tuesday night, Aronson learned that the parts had been sourced from two different locations and would arrive in Minnesota by Wednesday. A technician with Bright Star, the company that installed the projector, arrived in Morris on Wednesday afternoon with the repair parts.

The projector was up and running in time for a 7 p.m. show that night.

The timing for the projector failure was frustrating. This week’s new release, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the blockbuster movies of the year, bringing in $161.1 million during its opening weekend.

Aronson said about 320 people came to the midnight opening. Another large crowd saw the movie on Friday night, while about 200 people were turned away after the projector failed.

“Hopefully they will all be able to come back and see it when it is running again,” Aronson said.

“It clearly is a financial impact for us since we had to be closed four nights,” Aronson continued. “Since we have gone digital we have been able to provide a consistent quality product. When we had film I know some people were skeptical to come because they were concerned about the quality or reliability. Hopefully people will understand that even new digital equipment does on occasion have a problem but it should be rare.”