PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Discount movie theaters have been closing, one by one, across the nation.
Sunday night, the screen went dark on Century Square Cinemas, which had featured dollar movies in West Mifflin for 22 years.
Movie hopefuls who turned out for a Monday matinee went home disappointed.
“They usually carried a lot of children’s things,” said Joan D’Alessandro of Dormont. “And right now, there’s not too many that aren’t ‘R’ out. So yeah, it definitely changes. We were just saying, ‘What are we going to do now?'”
Laura Jean Kahl of Pittsburgh Filmmakers says small theaters have been hurt by the digital revolution.
“Transition from film to digital is at least $70,000,” Kahl said. “And so for somebody like the Maxi Savers to make that conversion when they’re charging $1 a ticket, is just not going to happen.”
She says Redbox, Netflix and other cheap rentals haven’t helped.
“The turnaround time, from the first run of the movies to when it’s available on DVD and streaming sources, is a lot shorter,” Kahl said. “So the need to go to a second run cheap theater is a lot less.”
Century Square’s move follows the unannounced closing of Washington Mall Cinemas.
But the fact it’s happening everywhere is little consolation for Shannon Nass of Bethel Park and her family, who were turned away Monday afternoon.
“For under $25, we could each see a movie and get popcorn and a drink,” she said. “So, it was a cheap day.”