Outdoor cinemas fade to black in Greece
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For decades Greeks have enjoyed watching the latest Hollywood blockbusters and old classics under the stars.

Open-air cinemas survived Greece's real estate boom and the financial bust that followed, providing many with an affordable night out.

From tiny Mediterranean islands to the capital, Athens, warm summer nights and some spectacular settings kept movie fans coming back. But the global switch to digital projection could soon bring the tradition to an end.

Many independent cinema operators say they cannot afford to invest tens of thousands of dollars in new technology, but none have said so far that they will have to turn off their old film projectors for good.

Among the images of outdoor cinemas are those of Cine Thisio, Athens' oldest, which opened in 1935.

To read more, visit AP's Big Story.

Below is a selection of images from Associated Press photographer Petros Giannakouris photo essay, Outdoor Cinemas Fade To Black In Greece.

Pavlos Lepeniotis
Pavlos Lepeniotis

In this July 27, 2014 photo, Pavlos Lepeniotis, a 53-year-old projectionist, operates his equipment and peers out from the projection booth at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Petralona, near central Athens. Lepniotis has worked in movie theaters since age 12, but his job may soon become obsolete with the global switchover from analog to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 25, 2014 photo, film and tools lie on a table next to a poster of the 1978 war movie Wild Geese, starring Richard Burton, at the Amigo outdoor cinema in Halandri, north of Athens. Cinema projectionists may soon become obsolete with the global switchover from analog to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 29, 2014 photo, a cinema technician stands in front of the screen at Fleri outdoor movie theater, near central Athens. The cinema reopened this summer after being closed for four years during the country's crippling financial crisis. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Pavlos Lepeniotis
Pavlos Lepeniotis

In this July 27, 2014 photo, Pavlos Lepeniotis, a 53-year-old projectionist, stands next to films spools in his projection booth at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Petralona, near central Athens. Lepniotis has worked in movie theaters since age 12, but his job may soon become obsolete with the global switchover from analog to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Pavlos Lepeniotis
Pavlos Lepeniotis

In this July 27, 2014 photo, Pavlos Lepeniotis, a 53-year-old projectionist, handles strips of film at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Petralona, near central Athens. Lepniotis has worked in movie theaters since age 12, but his job may soon become obsolete with the global switchover from analog to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Pavlos Lepeniotis
Pavlos Lepeniotis

In this July 27, 2014 photo, Pavlos Lepeniotis, a 53-year-old projectionist, operates his equipment in his projection booth at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Petralona, near central Athens. Lepniotis has worked in movie theaters since age 12, but his job may soon become obsolete with the global switchover from analog to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 27, 2014 photo, moviegoers walk past film on an old projector on display at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Ano Petralona, near central Athens. Most Greeks watch movies outdoors during the summer, but businesses are under threat from the country's financial crisis and cost of switching to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 23, 2014 photo, passers by looks at movie notices outside the Thisio outdoor summer cinema where moviegoers watch films under the ancient Acropolis. Cine Thisio is one of the oldest open-air movie theater in Athens, built in 1935. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 25, 2014 photo, two boys crouch on top of a skateboard ramp to peer over a wall into Galatsi outdoor cinema, to watch the American adventure film Hercules, near central Athens. Most Greeks still watch movies at open air theaters during the summer despite the increasing number of screens at air-conditioned multiplex cinemas. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 30, 2014 photo, moviegoers watch the 2014 romantic comedy Blended, starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, at the Nostalgia outdoor cinema, surrounded by apartment blocks at the northern suburb of Neo Iraklio in Athens. The municipal cinema offers discounts to the unemployed, disabled and large families. Local authorities have taken over many of the Greek capital's outdoor movie theaters which are struggling to stay in business during the country's severe financial crisis. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 24, 2014 photo, a moviegoer walks past a poster of the 1942 American romantic war drama Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman at the outdoor theater Cine Paris, in central Athens. The theater in the capital's historic Plaka district is one of a handful of summer cinemas to have switched to digital protection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 27, 2014 photo, a cat walks up an aisle at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Ano Petralona, near central Athens. Most Greeks watch movies outdoors during the summer, but businesses are under threat from the country's financial crisis and cost of switching to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 23, 2014 photo, a man stacks popcorn boxes beside movie posters of the 1955 drama Rebel Without a Cause and the 1939 historical romance Gone with the Wind at the canteen of the Thisio outdoor summer cinema, near the ancient Acropolis in Athens. Cine Thisio is one of the oldest open-air movie theater in Athens, built in 1935. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 27, 2014 photo, moviegoers take their seats in front of hand- painted posters of the 1968 musical drama Oliver! starring Mark Lester and the the 1966 western El Dorado starring John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Ano Petralona, near central Athens. Most Greeks watch movies outdoors during the summer, but businesses are under threat from the country's financial crisis and cost of switching to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 28, 2014 photo, moviegoers watch the 2013 British drama film "Locke" starring Tom Hardly at the Filothei outdoor theater near Athens. Unlike most other Mediterranean countries, films in Greece are shown with subtitles and are not dubbed, making audiences more familiar with English. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

n this July 27, 2014 photo, a moviegoer walks past an old projector on display at the entrance of the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Ano Petralona, near central Athens. Most Greeks watch movies outdoors during the summer, but businesses are under threat from the country's financial crisis and cost of switching to digital projection. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) 

Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay
Greece Outdoor Cinemas Photo Essay

In this July 23, 2014 photo, people watch the movie "The Immigrant " at the Thisio outdoor summer cinema as the Ancient Acropolis is seen lit up in the background. Cine Thisio is one of the oldest open-air movie theaters in Athens, built in 1935. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) License this image

Opening text from the AP story, OUTDOOR CINEMAS FADE TO BLACK IN GREECE, By Petros Giannakouris. To license this story or other AP news, contact us.

 

Lead Image Caption: In this July 27, 2014 photo, a 1965 French science fiction movie Alphaville is shown on a screen at the Zefyros vintage-movie cinema in Ano Petralona, near central Athens. The subtitles reads in Greek "Think the word love". Unlike most other Mediterranean countries, films in Greece are shown with subtitles and are not dubbed, making audiences more familiar with English. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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