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Digital 3D theatre opening at Hastings Museum

Open house featuring free popcorn and prizes scheduled for October 29.

The giant screen theatre at Hastings Museum is reopening October 26 with a new digital projector and silver screen in place — and two new 3D films that will immerse viewers in places they’ve never been and worlds they’ve never imagined.

The new digital projector offers a brighter, clearer picture than ever before, with the new silver screen providing the perfect backdrop for regular and 3D films and movies.

“The film and movie industries are changing, and we are changing right along with them,” said Becky Matticks, Museum director. “Having the most recent and best technology gives us access to the latest films. It ensures viewers a quality show and a quality experience, and that’s what we want to deliver.”

In addition to a new projector and screen, the theatre also received new carpet and paint since it was closed for the upgrades beginning October 3.

Renovations were made possible with support from the Hastings Museum Foundation. “We are so fortunate to have an active and vibrant Foundation,” Matticks said. “We appreciate the Foundation’s contribution to this and so many other projects.”

To allow everyone to experience the theatre upgrades, the Museum is hosting an open house on Saturday, October 29 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. The free open house will feature trailers of upcoming films, shown in a continuous loop so no matter when viewers arrive, they can get a taste of what’s to come.

There will also be free activities for children, multiple giveaways, door prizes and free popcorn. Those that purchase tickets to see one of the films will be entered to win even more fabulous prizes!

Matticks explained that the new digital system projects films in a wide-screen format, similar to what viewers see at home on high definition televisions. “Just like television shows, this is the way films are being produced now,” she said. “We’re just fortunate enough to be able to project onto a 65-foot wide screen. It’s the largest in the region and certainly puts you in the middle of the action.”

New theatre featuring new films
Flying Monsters 3D at Hastings MuseumThe first digital 3D film to come soaring into the theatre is Flying Monsters 3D. About 220 million years ago dinosaurs were beginning their domination of Earth. Yet another group of reptiles was about to make an extraordinary leap: Pterosaurs were taking control of the skies. The story of how and why these mysterious creatures took to the air is more fantastical than any fiction-and one of the greatest riddles in paleontology.

The film uses 3D and CGI technology to immerse audiences in a prehistoric world inhabited by pterosaurs, flying vertebrates with a wingspan of up to 45 feet that lived alongside dinosaurs. Distributed worldwide by National Geographic Cinema Ventures, Flying Monsters 3D was produced by Atlantic Productions filmmaker Anthony Geffen and narrated by veteran filmmaker and renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Flying Monsters is launching nationwide at the same time we’re debuting it here at Hastings Museum,” Matticks said. “Without the new digital projector and theatre upgrades we may have never been able to show such a high-quality and fascinating film.”

African Adventure in 3D now showing at Hastings MuseumAlso opening is African Adventure 3D: Safari in the Okavango. Big-game animals, crocodiles, hippos, elephants, lions and one of the largest bird concentrations on the planet all come to life thanks to immersive 3D photography.

“This isn’t simply a documentary about the region,” Matticks said. “It’s a unique photo safari in the flooded desert. The immersive quality of the 3D photography will put you in the boat, offering an experience like no other.”

Both films will be shown several times daily and are locally sponsored by KHAS-TV and The Breeze 94.5.

“We are really excited to be opening with these two films,” Matticks said. “Best of all, Museum members will continue to receive a discount on every film ticket they purchase. It’s a great benefit of being a Museum member, especially with the quality of the films we show.”

Recent hit movies to continue on weekends
Hastings Museum’s digital theatre will also continue to show recent hit movies on weekends-but those movies will now be shown in digital clarity, with the same brightness and 3D capabilities as films.

The first recent hit movie is one of the greatest animated Disney movies in history: The Lion King, which was recently re-released in digital 3D. It opens October 28 and for the first time ever, viewers will get to experience this epic story in an immersive digital 3D picture and sound.

The Lion King in 3D will show Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on October 28-30 and November 4-6. It will also play for Family Friday on November 4.

For all film and movie showtimes, ticket prices and to see a trailer of all films and movies, visit HastingsMuseum.org.

To purchase tickets in advance, contact the Hastings Museum at 402-461-4629 or 800-508-4629.

Founded in 1927, Hastings Museum in Hastings, Neb., is the largest municipal museum between Chicago and Denver. Featuring a giant screen theatre and planetarium, the Museum houses dozens of animal species set in their natural habitats. It also chronicles the history of the early inhabitants of the Nebraska plains and how Kool-Aid, the famous soft drink invented in Hastings, came to be such a success. For more, go to HastingsMuseum.org.

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