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Cinema 5 at the Northland Mall will begin the installation of all-new digital cinema projectors on Monday. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

Northland Cinema begins digital upgrade Monday

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WORTHINGTON --By the end of next week, local moviegoers will view the latest favorite flicks on an updated digital system at Northland Cinema 5.

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On Friday, West Mall Theatres Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D., which owns the Worthington theater complex, announced it will begin upgrading to all new, state-of-the-art Sony 4K digital cinema projectors Monday.

"We really didn't have a choice," explained David Fetters, vice president and communications director of the company. "The whole industry is converting from film to digital projection. Within the next year or so, film isn't going to be widely available, so theaters that don't make the conversion won't have much to show."

Fetters calls the upgrade "a significant" financial investment by the company in its Worthington property.

"We have been pleased with the Cinema 5, and this major investment brings a truly superior movie experience to the big screens in Worthington. Moviegoers will be able to enjoy the best in movie entertainment with stunning picture quality and great sound for many years to go."

Starting Monday, Northland Cinema 5 will run a limited schedule of movie showings to facilitate the upgrades in each of the five auditoriums. Local crews will perform all the mechanical work.

"We're going to try to keep two screens open every night," said Fetters. "We'll have two of the newest movies showing each night."

The plan is to have the conversion completed in time to be fully operational by the Friday showings.

"Our first digital movie is expected to be the new 'G.I. Joe' movie," Fetters shared. "We're scheduled to receive the digital print of that on Wednesday, so the first digitally presented movie will be on Wednesday night."

The digital cinema projectors selected for Worthington are the latest 4K models from Sony, which boast four times the resolution of HDTV. The sound system in each auditorium is also being upgraded to digital five-channel stereo surround sound to take full advantage of the capabilities of the new projectors. A further enhancement to the system is expected later this spring.

"We'll have 3D capabilities, but that's a two-step process," Fetters explained. "The projectors are all fully 3D capable, but they require special lenses and we have to put in new silver screens, and those took a little bit longer. We're targeting them for the big summer releases, which will be coming out in May, so we should have our first 3D movie in early May. This Sony system is really spectacular with the 3D -- one of the better systems on the market."

With these upgrades, Fetters said that Worthington audiences can be assured of having the best viewing experience possible in the Northland Cinema 5 facilities.

"It's really been a long haul for small and independent theaters like we are," he said, "and it took a while to get the deal put together, but everything finally came together for our facility in Worthington.

Northland Cinema 5 is located in the Northland Mall in Worthington. The theater is open every night and also shows afternoon matinees on Saturdays, Sundays and most school holidays. The facilities are also available for meetings and special events. The movie hotline is available by calling 372-7469; or visit the website, www.northlandtheatre.com.

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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