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Published: Tuesday, 4/8/2008

10-screen theater in Holland is closing

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

After 19 years, a major expansion, and a conversion to an art house, the curtain will come down for good April 20 on the 10-screen Super Cinemas Toledo theater complex in Holland.

The building s owner, National Amusements Inc., of Dedham, Mass., said the aging complex is no longer financially viable and will be shut permanently after its final show 12 days from now.

Its 27 employees will be offered jobs elsewhere at the firm s four other local theaters. Art films and other favorite programs held at the theater including $2 admission for popular films in their second release will be relocated.

Wanda Whitson, a company spokesman, said the Super Cinemas, which opened in 1988 in the Spring Meadows Shopping Center, had become obsolete. Surveys have shown audiences prefer a variety of new amenities, including stadium-style seating and surround sound, which the Super Cinemas does not have.

Providing our patrons with the best movie-going experience is of the utmost importance to us, she said.

National Amusements owns most of the area theaters. It doesn t own the Maumee Indoor Theater and the Sundance Kid Drive-In in Oregon.

The Super Cinemas began with four screens and added six more in 1990, and had been used primarily to show first-run art films and as a $2 discount ticket site for popular films that had debuted weeks earlier.

National Amusements said it will move its art films to its Showcase Cinemas Levis Commons theater in Perrysburg, and open an art lounge where patrons can meet beforehand or after to discuss movies.

Its $2 films will move to its Maumee 18 Cinema de Lux complex on Conant Street in Maumee. Its Silver Screen Classics, a popular program with senior citizens, will move to Showcase Cinemas at Fallen Timbers.

Ticket prices are not expected to change. National Amusements charges $10 for general admission after 6 p.m., and $7.50 for shows before then. It charges $7.50 for art films.

Jim Walter, owner of Great Eastern Theater Co., which owns the Maumee Indoor Theater and Sundance drive-in, said there had been strong hints the Super Cinemas would close.

This doesn t surprise me, he said. Really, there s too many screens in town, and National Amusements was smart to realize that.

It makes sense, he said, to move the art films to a newer theater and the other programs elsewhere, rather than create a discount theater under one roof.

Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman with the National Association of Theater Owners, said when a company like National Amusements has several state-of-the-art theaters in an area, it is difficult to operate one that doesn t have such amenities.

The theater company said it initially plans to keep the Super Cinemas property, which it owns, and offer its location for redevelopment to alternative uses by any interested developers.

The company has closed the Showcase Cinemas and Franklin Park Cinemas properties in Toledo and Sylvania, respectively, which it is trying to redevelop. The Showcase Cinemas property on Secor Road has been listed for sale at $7 million, while the Franklin Park Cinemas site on Monroe Street is for lease.

Ms. Whitson said National Amusements, which typically does not sell land it owns, would like to keep the Super Cinemas property.

But it depends on the offers we get, she said. At this point, we re open to discussion for anything.

Contact Jon Chavez at:jchavez@theblade.comor 419-724-6128.



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