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AMC Classic Columbia 10, 5320 Forest Drive: 7 September 2022   5 comments

Posted at 10:43 pm in closing

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I went to this theater twice this summer with my sister and niece, once to see Jurassic World and once to see Minions. Frankly those movies were not the best, but the experience was fine and my niece enjoyed playing the pinball machine in the lobby after the shows.

However, I figured that the writing was on the wall when I had a bit of unexpected free time on a Saturday in August, and, since I was already in the car, drove over to see what was playing. I got there about 8:30pm, and found that there were no further shows that day. So, if on a summer Saturday when the kids are still out of school, you are closing the ticket office at 8:30 -- that's not a good sign.

Sure enough, a few weeks later they locked the doors for good.

I have to say that after this, and Dutch Square, I would not place odds on the longevity of the Afton Court location in Harbison.

Here's The State on the closing.

(Hat top to commenter Thomas)

Written by ted on September 26th, 2022

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AMC Classic Dutch Square 14, 421 Bush River Road Suite 80: Mid August 2022   2 comments

Posted at 11:15 pm in closing

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I have seen many movies at Dutch Square over the years. This includes at the original Dutch Square Theater (where Mrs. B's is now) and this one (which is actually in the old Tapps location. I forget the most recent film I saw here, but I do remember two things about the experience: First it took a lot longer to get tickets than I expected, or than it should have taken, and second, it was obvious the theater was either overbuilt or understaffed -- they had a whole cafe area that was completely unused. It was also about this time that I showed up for a movie, got my ticket and walked to the auditorium and found a completely different movie playing. Apparently I had bought the only ticket to the movie I wanted to see, and I was a few minutes late, so they decided, What the heck? Forget about what we advertised and throw some more guys for Movie B in here!.

According to The State & WLTX the theaters will be re-opening on Thursday 1 September under Bow-Tie Management (The door signs say 2 September). I don't know the company, but the exercise of re-opening can be pretty iffy. I know it failed with Columbia Mall and B & B in Fernandina. On the other hand, so far it seems to be working for Movies Behind The Mall.

(Hat tip to commenter Steve)

Written by ted on August 30th, 2022

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B&B Theatres Amelia Island, 1132 South 14th Street (Fernandina Beach): 27 January 2021   no comments

Posted at 12:21 am in closing

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I wrote in 2016 about the closing of Island Cinema 7 in Fernandina Beach. Somewhat to my surprise, instead of staying vacant, or becoming a dollar cinema, B&B Theaters moved into the spot and the Island once again had a first-run movie theater.

I saw several films there under the new regime, and it was pretty nice. I know I saw one there in December of 2021, but I am currently unable to remember what it was, which is too bad, as it will be the last.

The Fernandina News Leader reports that the theaters closed on 27 January 2021, a little more than a month after I was there last. Apparently the spece is to become doctors' offices, though I saw no signs of that upfit during my visit in May 2022.

As before, the closest theater is now on A1A coming into the Island from Yulee.

Written by ted on June 24th, 2022

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Remember Movies?   1 comment

Posted at 10:22 pm in commentary

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As has been mentioned in Have Your Say several times today, Regal is re-closing its theaters Thursday after having reopened them (where it could) a month or so ago. The reason is pretty simple really: No Movies.

After the pulling of Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and as the last straw, James Bond, the theaters have nothing to show. Granted the box office of the few films that did limp out like Bill & Ted 3, New Mutants & Tenet was not good, but you have to keep the pump primed. It appears to me that the studios are cutting their own throats by letting the theater chains go under. Sure maybe you're not going to get your money back on the next few films, but you've got to keep people thinking about movies, and you're sure not going to get a billion dollar film over streaming.

In the meantime, I see that the St. Andrews bargain cinemas are doing what they can with screenings of classics like The Empire Strikes Back and Harry Potter.

Here's looking at you, kid

Written by ted on October 6th, 2020

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Carmike 14, 122 Afton Court: Summer 2017 (reflagged)   11 comments

Posted at 12:38 am in closing

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As mentioned in the Have Your Say already, the Carmike 14 on Afton Court off of Columbiana Drive across from Columbiana Mall has been reflagged to AMC Classic Harbison 14. As of 27 August 2017, the Carmike branding was still on the roadside sign and the building marquee, but inside the theater is already in operation as an AMC with their policy trailer and concessions.

This theater has always been a bit of an enigma to me as it is far enough away, that I rarely get to it, but in the past my impression is that it has tended to shadow Dutch Square more closely than the Regal on Bower Parkway.

Written by ted on August 30th, 2017

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Frank Theatres Cine Bowl & Grille: Inlet Square Murrells Inlet: 14 May 2016   1 comment

Posted at 12:51 am in closing

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Murrels Inlet's hardluck mall Inlet Square took another blow in May with the closing of Frank Theaters.

This is actually the second set of theaters in this spot. I don't think I did a closing on it, but for many years this site was a Regal Cinema, and the setup kind of used to amuse me, since they often tore your ticket at the window and had no ticket taker inside. I'm sure many a teen just wandered in, and into a any showroom despite any lack of money or sufficent age for an "R" film.

After Regal closed, Frank Theaters leased the spot and did an extensive remodel for their cinema/restaurant/bowling/arcade conceptCine Bowl & Grille. I don't think the airport type restaurant and bar was really credible in the area, but the bowling alley portion seemed to do a good business as did the movies from what I could tell. There was no "attraction" screen like an "Imax" or "RPX", but it was all digital, and had pretty comfortable seats. I'm trying to recall the last movie I saw here, which would have been around Easter, but I'm drawing a blank.

At any rate, I was pretty surprised on my last trip around Memorial Day when I was googling movie times and nothing was coming up in Murrells Inlet: The Sun News has the story. On reflection, however, should have seen it coming. Several years before, I had seen this story about how the theater was way behind in lease payments to the mall. Since the place stayed open, I figured the two sides had worked something out. Apparently however, the theater was playing the same game as Borders Books, the "We're too important to you for you to kick us out" ploy. Given the sorry state of Inlet Square, you might almost expect that to work, but in the event, not.

In the past, when we stayed on Pawleys, we had the options of movies in Georgetown (The Hub), Litchfield (Tara), and Surfside (Deerfield Cinema), all south of Myrtle Beach. Now, the closest place is Market Commons.

Holey Moley!   no comments

Posted at 3:43 am in commentary

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Now *that's* a Star Wars movie!

Myrtle Beach IMAX, 1325 Celebrity Circle: November 2011   11 comments

Posted at 12:20 am in Uncategorized

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IMAX theaters are kind of an odd duck in the movie world. They have tremendous screens and potentially a lot of advantages over regular theaters, but all seem to be run on kind of an amateur basis. For a time, South Carolina had two IMAX screens, one at the Charleston Aquarium, and this one at Broadway At The Beach in Myrtle Beach.

I used to go down to the Charleston one fairly regularly for spectacles like Harry Potter and The Polar Express. I wasn't too surprised when it went under as the parking situation was rather fraught.

Given the amount of time I spend on the Grand Strand, it always surprised me how seldom I got to the Myrtle Beach IMAX. It just seemed that whenever I would check it out, it was all sharks & dinosaurs. From time to time there would be a a good second run movie there, like Beauty & The Beast, The Phantom Menace or The Dark Knight, but it was always six months or more after the fact, by which time I had usually seen them elsewhere. (Though for the record, the IMAX cut of The Phantom Menace was much better than the regular theatrical release because the hard running-time limit imposed on IMAX at the time, due to the huge weight of the reels, forced Lucasfilms to cut a lot of the dross..).

This pattern continued even when IMAX hit its peak nationally with big hits. Given the lackluster record of the Myrtle Beach site, I wasn't too surprised when it closed in November of 2011. As it turns out though, there was a reason the place was so far below its potential. According to The Sun News the IMAX actually had a non-compete agreement with the Carmike 16 adjoining it at Broadway At The Beach. The fact that they would ever have agreed to such a thing kind of confirms my opinion of the amateur nature of IMAX management, but does explain why they never had the hit first-run movies. The ampitheatre re-opened this summer as a Carmike property, using a different big-screen technology called BIGD. I have not had a chance to check it out, but presumably there is no longer an issue of Carmike competing with itself.

Currently South Carolina has no IMAX locations. I believe that Charlotte is the closest outlet, but I have incorporated an IMAX stop into my Florida vacations for the last few years of big releases. Tampa had two, one at the port Canalside complex in Ybor City, and one at the big science museum. The Canalside location closed a year or so ago, and the last two years, I have hit the World Golf Hall of Fame location in St. Augustine for Dark Knight offerings. I'm pretty sure that this summer they had switched to digital projection, and it was much less impressive. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could see pixels at times. IMAX seems to be floundering at the corporate level as well as at the local. In recent years, they have diluted their brand by revamping mall-type multiplexes and labeling them IMAX. This, of course, leads Internet wags to label these outlets as "Liemax" locations, and there is no easy way to tell from their publicity which locations are true IMAX and which are not. In the meantime, Hollywood seems to be betting that High Frame Rate rather than huge screens is the next big thing. I guess time will tell, but in the meantime, even sharks and dinosaurs are gone from Myrtle Beach.

Written by ted on February 18th, 2013

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Nickelodeon Theatre, 937 Main Street: 31 August 2012 (moved)   8 comments

Posted at 12:54 am in Uncategorized

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As I've mentioned, there was a time in my life when I saw three or four movies a week. After I left college, that dropped way off (though I still did manage to see both The Little Mermaid & The Incredibles upwards of 20 times each).

I think if I had stayed in Columbia, I might have stayed more in the habit -- I would look at the Nickelodeon calendars and see a lot that looked interesting, but having limited time in town rarely got around to it. As it is, I remember seeing two movies in particular here. The first was Gunga Din with Cary Grant. This was a splendid old light-hearted adventure film, and I saw it with my father, who had also seen it when it was first released in 1939. The second was completely different, in fact it was And Now for Something Completely Different, the first Monty Python film (which Wikipedia says is a reshooting of some of their classic sketches, which I did not realize at the time). I'm sure I saw a few other films at The Nick, but I'm a bit blurry on the details now.

Anyway, The Nickelodeon has now moved to the other side of the State House at 1607 Main Street. This is the site of the old Fox theater. I am pretty sure that the last time I was in the Fox was in 1977 to see Ralph Bakshi's Wizards. In fact, I had somehow convinced my mother and sister to go with me, and the film was so awful that they both walked out and shopped what was left of Main Street while I toughed it out to the end. I wonder if The Nick will do a Bakshi retrospective some day..

Written by ted on September 4th, 2012

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Columbia Mall Cinema 8 / Columbia Place Stadium Cinemas, 7201-802 Two Notch Road: December 2011 (open again)   77 comments

Posted at 12:27 am in Uncategorized

Originally, as I recall it, this was simply the Columbia Mall Theater, and opened about the same time as the mall itself. Compared to some of the other theaters in town, I don't have any really strong memories of the place. I know I saw what was pretty much the last 70s style Disney live-action movie there: The North Avenue Irregulars as well as one of Disney's periodic re-issues of The Jungle Book and the first run of The Rescuers Down Under. (Yeah, I like Disney). I also remember trying to go there for a James Bond flick, one of the later Moore ones, and finding it sold out, a pretty rare experience back then.

At some point after I moved out of town, the Mall started to decline, and the theaters actually went under (along with the nearby Capitol Centre Theater). After that, a company called Phoenix Theaters re-opened the theater, which was sort of their shtick "phoenix from the ashes"/"new theater from old". I can't find out a lot about them because every google search turns up theaters in Phoenix Arizona, but this might be their web site. If it is, they have downsized considerably. At any rate, I don't think the Phoenix incarnation lasted too long here in Columbia. I recall seeing one movie under that regime (they had the latest showtimes) and not being too impressed with the theater (or the movie as I can't now recall what it was).

After that, I think the theaters closed again, and remodeled along stadium lines, which was the latest gimmick several years ago (and is an improvement, I have to admit). I'm struggling to think of any movie I saw there after the conversion, and I don't think there is one -- by that time, I had switched mostly to Richland Mall and Forest Drive as my default theaters.

I've lost the hat tip for the commenter who pointed out this closure, and when they said it happened, but if you look closely, you can see a poster for The Darkest Hour a movie which opens on Christmas Day 2011, so it was very recent, and we can assume somewhat unexpected if they thought they would be showing that one.

UPDATE 3 July 2012 -- As the pictures below show, the place is now open again as Columbia Place Stadium Cinemas.

Getting ready to re-open (28 May 2012):

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Open again (29 June 2012):

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Written by ted on December 23rd, 2011

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