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Posted: December 11, 2013 Downtown Cinema celebrates 20th anniversary; moves to digital

The price, traditions and the use of real butter are what make the Downtown Cinema (Cameo Budget) so unique. The theater celebrated  its 20th birthday as a discount cinema on Oct. 29. Tom Klemmer, who has been the manager since the theater opened, said they marked the day without too much fanfare.


It was December of 1946 when the theater was originally built, Klemmer said. The building then closed for a year and re-opened as a low-priced cinema in 1993. A newspaper article from the original opening is framed in the main lobby. Downstairs, people can see some of the original decorations, like the bright orange plastic chairs, which preserve a traditional atmosphere.

The Budget is "pretty much what it was in 1993," said Klemmer. Only small changes have been made, such as new seats, which were previously in the Micon Eau Claire Theater.

"We're kind of a hand-me-down theater," said Klemmer, which keeps the prices lower.

Movies at the theater are previously released which is why customers pay $4 for a ticket. Some of the saved money is used to spend more on real butter, made in Greenwood. Most modern theaters do not use real butter today, Klemmer said.

 As for the theater's future, "the biggest upgrade is we don't have to use film anymore," said Klemmer. The Budget will soon be moving on to digital format for showing movies. It is quite the change after being one of the few theaters to still use film, said Klemmer.

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