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Sometimes people use the word cinema in place of “movie theater,” but the word can also refer to a single movie or just about anything else related to movies and film-making.

For example, The Annenberg Foundation’s educational website, Learner.org, includes a page dedicated to cinema, with links to screenwriting, directing, acting, producing, and editing.

The popularity of cinema, whether from Hollywood or independent producers, never seems to wane. Cinema stars are a mainstay of the celebrity culture, while articles and reviews about current movies remain among the most popular in online and traditional print media.

While trips to the cinema remain a favorite American past-time, local movie theaters now have more competition for viewers. Home-entertainment systems and the availability of movies on the Internet have encouraged some fans to forgo trips to local cinemas.

Meanwhile, some local or historic cinemas — movie houses — are facing another challenge: The film industry’s conversion to digital movies, which require expensive new projectors, are placing owners with older projectors in a difficult financial position.

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