Chehalis Theatre closes

posted by KenLayton on January 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

CHEHALIS, WA — The single screen Chehalis Theatre has closed due to competition from a new 10 plex all-digital projection theater recently opened in the area. The Chehalis Theatre has digital sound (pumping out a massive 3600 watts), a small stage with a big screen, modern snack bar, and a fully functioning well-lit marquee. Theater has been restored and is in very good condition.

Daryl Lund knew that when the new multiplex theater came to town that things might get a little grim for his two theaters, Chehalis Cinema and the Regal Cinema 3 at the Yard Birds Mall.

Two months after the opening of Midway Cinemas at the Lewis County Mall, the Chehalis Cinema closed its doors for the last time on Dec. 15 due to its inability to compete with the new theater.

“I didn’t have any movies to show, because the new theater took them all,” Lund said. “I could show movies all day, but I’d lose money because nobody would go. It’s just hard when you can’t get the movies the bigger guys tend to get.”

Here’s the full story from The Chronicle.

Theaters in this post

Comments (12)

minniethemoocher on January 8, 2009 at 10:50 am

Jeez. How terrible. I had wanted to go there for quite some time, and now who knows if I’ll get the chance. It makes me sick when stuff like this happens.

longislandmovies on January 8, 2009 at 6:24 pm

The time has come in this country were old is a curse big is the best and time marches on.No heritage no sense of pride or care for tradition.So few places matter or our significant to the average person.No sense of loyalty to or for something that matters.Greed ,self concern ,the dollar….Welcome 2009!

MPol on January 8, 2009 at 6:30 pm

You got it, longislandmovies. Everything has to be bigger and newer in order to be better, but, no, it doesn’t really. Granted, not everything old is good, and not everything new is bad, but the way that a lot of the newer theatres are right now are a little too antiseptic-looking for my tastes. It makes me sick too, to see a venerable old theatre closing down, but thank heavens for the few movie palaces left here in our area and the USA at large. Some of these places shouldn’t have been torn down or closed at all, but better-maintained and renovated.

markp on January 8, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Both longislandmovies and MPol are right. Years ago the palaces were built with brick, mortar and plaster. Todays crackerboxes are built with sheetrock that gets more holes punched in it than termites can put in an old piece of wood. Ever see a newer plex get demolished? No time flat. Watch an old video of New york’s Roxy Theatre, or the old Penn Station. It took forever. (By the way it took 2 and ½ years to tear down the old penn, and only 18 months to put up its sorry replacement.)

Roxy on January 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I would think the best thing would have been to close the Regal 3 in the mall, and keep the old Chehalis open as a 2nd run house. Don’t compete for product as that is impossible against a large multiplex. Instead make the Chehalis something unique. Play all the best product after them, leaning towards families and the over 40 crowd,at reduced prices of $3.00 or $4.00 dollars all seats at all times. Let the teens go to the multiplex and destroy the moviegoing experience for everyone there, and give the families and older folks a real quality theatre going experience at the Chehalis, and then they will wait to enjoy that experience and to save money as well.

MPol on January 9, 2009 at 5:43 am

Hey, hey, what do you say?!? What an excellent idea, RoxyVaudville!! That would be SO cool. Here’s wishing other places, such as our area would do it too, instead of tearing down venerable old movie palaces or making them into multiplexes, as all too often happens these days.

Much older buildings generally, such as the old Penn Station, New York’s Roxy Theatre, and many others, that were built before the 1950’s were generally built with brick, mortar and plaster, and not only took longer to demolish, but had a tendency to stand up more to fires, although the fireproofing materials these days, for the most part, have improved a good deal.

Years ago, I read an article in “The New Yorker” about surviving a high-rise fire, and one of the things that it pointed out was what I mentioned above; buildings built before 1950 withstood fires better than the more modern buildings. In this particular article, two such examples are cited: The older building, which had been built with brick, mortar, plaster and steel remained standing after a high-rise fire had occurred had only part of one side blown out of the building, while the rest of the building remained standing. The more modern building, however, was blown to smithereens.

Sheetrock is the order of the day. It’s important for things to be built quickly these days.

markp on January 9, 2009 at 6:03 am

Well MPol, I know sheetrock is the order of the day, but I’ll take the old day any day. And as far as what RoxyVaudville said, he should know, since hes running a thatre in just that fashion. He and I have a mutual friend. I never met RoxyVaudville, but I heard his theatre is a jewel. And if you look up ‘Beach Cinema’ in Bradley Beach N.J., you will find another single screener showing 2nd run and doing just fine. The biggest problem today is the film companies dictate too much what can and cannot be done, and the theatres therefore cannot think outside the box.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on January 9, 2009 at 10:19 am

I agree, close the 3 plex in the Yard Birds and re-open the Chehalis, I have been to the Chehalis a couple of times and always new that this area was ripe for a new modern theater. I never could figure out why the Chehalis was showing main stream movies. They always had to play them for weeks on end even after the audience had dropped way off. The Chehalis can not compete with the new Midway but it can operate as a revival house with a mix of classic, art, independent, and smaller main stream films that the Midway doesn’t have room for. A single screen can survive but you have to be very creative in your bookings.

KenLayton on January 9, 2009 at 10:58 am


The McMenamins Olympic Club in Centralia is already doing what you mentioned and they are struggling to stay open too.

danpetitpas on January 13, 2009 at 11:11 am

I just wanted to note that there were other conditions surrounding the theater’s closing. The owner said that the studios dictated the ticket price, so he couldn’t offer cheap seats. And although energy costs are down from earlier this year, they’re on a par with last year, which makes it very expensive to heat the theater during the winter months. It all boils down to whether you can make money there or not. That’s why theaters were twinned in the first place. If you run pictures that only attract 20 people per showing, it’s better to have two pictures that attract 40 people. The only model that seems to save these old theaters in small towns is to go the non-profit route.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on January 13, 2009 at 12:02 pm

As I’ve often said before… look at San Francisco’s immensely popular and follow their programming concept. It really works!

KenLayton on January 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm

This is a rural/farming community and the city is nowhere near the size of San Francisco. The Chehalis is heated with steam heat from a boiler under the small stage. It costs alot to heat this building in the winter.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment