Batesville movie theater fighting to stay open

(WISH Photo/Jessica Smith)

BATESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – The Gibson Theatre is feeling the pressure to switch from film to digital technology, like many small town movie theaters across the country.

If the theatre doesn’t raise the $15,000 by next Monday, it will soon shut down. But many people in the town say they just can’t let that happen.

“It’s technology, it’s just the way technology is–it moves on,” said the Gibson owner, Kim Powell.

Powell has worked at the theater for the past 28 years, and owned it for the past eight. Now, he’s trying to keep up with an ever-changing industry.

“The film is running out, it’s getting very tough to get the film now,” said Powell.

The 93-year-old theater uses film to play one movie at a time. Without digital technology, it is difficult to get current movies to play at the theater because companies no longer want to ship the heavy, outdated equipment.

“Everything comes in on film. On five, six or seven rolls of film, and you have to put it together. It’s time consuming a lot of work,” said Powell.

But the Gibson isn’t bringing in enough money to pay for the pricey technology.

If we don’t don’t do something soon, we’re going to lose the theater,” said Dave Johnston, a Batesville resident.

The theater has turned online to Kickstarter to raise the money and has received donations from all over the country. The theater must come up with $15,000 by May 26, or it gets none of the money pledged on the site.

“If the fundraiser doesn’t come through we don’t get the money to go digital, we’ll probably end up closing the door in a couple months,” said Powell.

Which would put a void in the heart of Batesville.

“It’s a beautiful old theater, you know? It’s just kind of a time piece,” said Johnston.

Even the kids in town, appreciate the Gibson.

Their parents, they can tell you what the first movie was that they saw when they came here on their first date,” said Johnston.

Nate Robinson is hoping the theater stays open, so he can celebrate his birthday with an overnight party at the movie theater.

“For my birthday, August 9, it’s going to be in the movie theater, and have a party if it’s still open. But if it’s not I don’t get to stay there,” said Robinson.

“It’s just kind of a mainstay of Batesville and we need to keep it open,” said Powell.

People who pledge at least $20, will get their names on the opening credits of movies at the Gibson.

To donate, you can visit the Kickstarter site here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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