Morris Theatre Micro Screen

A long time ago in a small town far far away there was a single screen movie theatre that served the community of Morris, Minnesota. Since the 1940's the Morris Theatre has brought the world of movies to this two stoplight, Lake Wobegon-ish town. So many classic movies have been seen on the Morris big screen. We cared what happened to Scarlett even if Rhett did not. We wondered about Rosebud, Redrum, and when we're gonna need a bigger boat. If there was something strange in the neighborhood, you could always find it at the Morris Theatre, along with a good laugh. (Check out this six minute video from PBS about our history. )
Ten years ago the Theatre almost closed down, but a group of community members formed a co-op and have worked hard to keep the Theatre alive. The community has come together to fix the roof, plaster the walls and of course pop that movie popcorn. 

Even as “cloud” based technology steals market share from the movie industry, it has been the community that has proven there is no place like home and has kept this small town theatre alive. The community of Morris has demonstrated it is important to keep the movie theatre open. Hundreds of community members are part of the cooperative, the local fire department sponsors a movie for kids during fire prevention week. Religious groups have sponsored inspiring movies for the community. Morris Theatre hosted a climate change summit and has shown young Minnesota directors’ fledgling films. The theatre is also working with the University of Minnesota Morris campus to bring the art of film and storytelling to our community.

Houston, we have a problem.

Our next great challenge: the movie business itself. Regrettably movie studios are becoming our enemy. Studios are insisting that even small single screen theatres, like ourselves, must keep first run movies for three weeks. This means no other movie can be shown on our one screen while the first run movie is in town, which is a significant problem because our audience drops off dramatically in subsequent weeks. To keep showing first run movies we need a smaller, second screen. This will allow us to move first run movies to the smaller screen after two weeks, and bring in a new movie on the big screen. We can also use the small screen for quirky films and special events while a first run film is showing on the main screen.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

In order to make this happen we plan on renovating this under utilized lounge area into a micro theatre with its own dedicated digital projector.  

This would allow us to:

- increase the number of first run movies we could present on opening night.
- improve the financial viability of the theatre for years to come.
- expand the variety of foreign and art movies shown.
- increase colaborations with local organisations to show movies for them on our screens.
- host video game events such as new game launches.
- create a space for private party screenings, where a group of friends can gather to watch their favourite movies, or celebrate a birthday or anniversary.

The future of the Morris Theatre will be bright if we can 
create a second screen.  Please go ahead and make our day and contribute to our campaign to help the Theatre thrive in this new digital age.

Thank you for your consideration and where is my two dollars?

Movie mis/quotes from: Star Wars, Jaws, Ghostbusters, Apollo 13, Dirty Dancing, Wizard of Oz, Better Off Dead and Sudden Impact.
  • Jay Hanson 
    • $250 
    • 48 mos
  • Peter Bremer 
    • $10 
    • 49 mos
  • Jill Schiller 
    • $25 
    • 51 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $75 
    • 51 mos
  • John Franey 
    • $25 
    • 51 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Thomas Howden 
Morris, MN
Morris Theatre Cooperative