MARATHON -- Marathon Cinema last week installed new high-definition, 3D, surround-sound technology for movies now being shown in the Middle Keys movie house.
The cinema closed for a week while the new equipment was set up.
Sam and Ayman Nekhalia, owners of Marathon Cinema, partnered with the Marathon Community Theatre playhouse to purchase the new equipment.
"As the year progressed it was getting more and more difficult to find movies that could be played on the existing 35mm equipment," Sam Nekhalia said.
As the movie industry changed, Marathon Cinema found local audiences choosing Key West and Tavernier to see high-definition movies with state-of-the-art sound. Deadlines, set by movie studios, made it crucial for the local cinema to install equipment before the end of the year in order to continue to receive movies, which are predominantly formatted for new technology.
"If we didn't upgrade to the new high-definition 3D technology before the end of this year, our little island movie house would have had to close." Nekhalia said.
Marathon Community Theatre, which purchased the cinema and playhouse building nearly 20 years ago, managed the movie theater for many years, before approaching the Nekhalia brothers about taking over the operation in 2008. The Nekhalias owned the Tavernier Cinemas from 2000 to 2010.
"MCT is grateful to our partner, Sam, who jump-started financing for this state-of-the-art equipment before the year-end deadline," said MCT President Jennifer Powell. The community theater is set to launch a three-year capital appeal campaign to help raise funds to support the digital upgrade and additional improvements to the cinema, including the concessions stand, bathroom and walls.
For more information about Marathon Cinema, visit www.marathoncinema.com.