Marshall Cinema to close doors in August
Closing credits are starting to roll as Marshall Cinema enters its last month of operation.
From first dates to marriage proposals, the cinema anchored the Marshall community. Going to the movies is a favorite memory of many -- if not most -- people's childhood.
The closing is not unexpected.
"But that's really what it comes down to; can the Marshall Cinema make enough money to even justify its own existence? From some of the crowds I saw during those big money summer blockbusters, I would think not," Wells wrote in his Nov. 18, 2008 column.
"I took my son to a matinee screening of 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' on a dreary Memorial Day afternoon and we were the only ones in the theater. The movie was four days old at that point and has been one of the biggest moneymakers of the year so far."
Cinema Manager Dan Vermillion agreed that attendance impacted the decision by B&B Theaters.
"When our steakhouse closed, our business went to Sedalia," Vermillion said. "People still go out for a steak and a movie -- they just go to Sedalia."
Three years ago, before Wells postulated on the future of Marshall Cinema, B&B Theaters was looking into building a new theater in Marshall, Vermillion said.
"The city wanted $200,000 for the footprint," he said. "If they had built the new theater three years ago, I think we would still have a theater."
The current building is more than 100 years old and maintenance costs on the structure chew up an increasing portion of the cinema's revenue, Vermillion said.
However, one of the main reasons B&B is pulling out of Marshall is what Vermillion describes as a change in business direction.
"They are moving toward larger communities and larger theaters," he said.
Nationally theaters have been undergoing the slow, expensive process of upgrading from traditional projectors to digital projectors.
The upgrade to digital costs about $70,000 and the 3-D add-on can run another $30,000. Vermillion said there is an industry consortium that helps small theaters make the transition.
However, B&B Theaters is not a small chain. B&B Theaters currently has 31 movie theaters with at least 200 screens in four states and one theater under construction in Wildwood.
Contact Pat Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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