Theaters Closing in Olympia

posted by kateymac01 on August 24, 2005 at 4:06 am

OLYMPIA, WA — Regal Entertainment is closing two movie theaters in Olympia, Wash., as it opens a new 16-screen megaplex in nearby Lacey, Wash.

Closing are the Lacey Cinemas (eight screens) and the Capital Mall 4. Both will close Thursday, Aug. 25. A local church will acquire the Lacey Cinemas space this year. The fate of the Capital Mall space (which is actually inside the mall) is not decided. Century Theaters, however, has announced plans to build a 14-screen theater on the mall campus.

Although I am sad whenever a theater closes, I can’t say I am hugely disappointed that these two are in their final days. They were very typical of original megaplexes, and they weren’t super-clean or well-updated. I remember sitting in the Capital Mall theater watching one film, but I could hear the movie next door. One friend said she will be heading to the two theaters for a last time this week to get her feet stuck to the floor.

Nonetheless, it is the end of era … but the beginning of a new one.

Side note: The closure of the Lacey and Capital Mall theaters means there will be only one movie theater in the Olympia city limits at this time. The Olympia Film Society shows arthouse/indie films at Capitol Theatre in downtown Olympia.

Theaters in this post

Comments (7)

KenLayton on August 24, 2005 at 4:42 am

What do you mean these theaters weren’t being updated?

Lacey Cinemas: Complete remodeling of building in 1994 by Act 3 Theaters included new carpet, wall drapes, screens, screen masking, seats, completely new snack bar, additional sound-proofing, and digital sound in every auditorium. Recently all new carpeting was again installed as well as new wall drapes last year by Regal Cinemas. The number one house was THX approved, but it was never advertised as such.

Capital Mall:

Last year Regal Cinemas upgraded auditoriums 1 and 2 to DTS Digital sound. Act 3 Theaters extensively remodeled the theater in 1995.

Century Theaters has been talking about building a 16 plex at the mall for over two years. Talk Talk Talk. Now they say they’ll downscale to a 14 plex. More talk. The City of Olympia has yet to address the extreme traffic congestion & lack of vehicle capacity on the roads on the entire westside of Olympia where this theater
would be built. There is still talk of the Cafarro Company (owners of the Target Place shopping center (directly across the parking lot from where the Century Theater complex would be built) building an independently operated 12 plex theater (build-to-suit setup) which also has not materialized. Too many screens in our area. Overbuilding strikes again.

In another year the new Regal Martin Village 16 will be just as dirty, smelly, and sticky as their other theaters IMO.

kateymac01 on August 24, 2005 at 12:29 pm

I always felt that these theaters weren’t clean, particularly Capital Mall, and both were smelly and uncomfortable. (Truth: A friend of mine walked into a Capital Mall auditorium once and turned around and walked out. He couldn’t handle the smell.) And I really could hear the movie in the auditorium next door almost every time I went to Capital Mall. In addition, the bathrooms at both theaters were small and cramped and dated.

And, yes, Lacey was LEAPS AND BOUNDS ahead of Capital Mall. But 1994 was a long time ago in terms of moviegoing, and Act 3 hasn’t been in charge in awhile. I applaud all the love and care that went into those theaters for so long — God knows it’s a lot of work to run a theater! — but those two theaters have served their time.

I only started going to Lacey and Capital Mall in 1994, so I don’t know how they were before then. But I do know that these theaters have suffered in recent years, particularly with the addition of Yelm Cinemas and the Lakewood Stadium 15 (just a short car trip up I-5 from Olympia). Too many screens, just like you said.

I am always sad when a theater closes. I have tons of fond memories of both of those theaters. And, yep, in a couple years the new theater will be just as sticky and dated.

And none of these theaters — Martin Village, Capital Mall, Lacey Cinemas — are “movie palaces” … sadly. Fun places to see a movie? Yes. Classic moviehouses like the Pantages in Tacoma (in its Roxy days) or Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood? No.

I completely concur about Century Theaters' ongoing “talk talk talk.” I was throwing that out there as something that is proposed. I could have also added that in 2000, Galaxy Theaters announced plans to build a theater in Lacey, too. Heck, Lacey named a street near where those theaters were supposed to be Galaxy Drive!!!

Just my 2 cents. Not meant to offend. Just one moviegoer’s experience.

KenLayton on August 24, 2005 at 1:12 pm

Regal Cinemas seems to have a problem with keeping their theaters clean and free from smells. Evidently they don’t like to use bleach for cleaning.
Lacey Cinemas was built by Tom Moyer Theaters and Capital Mall Cinemas by Larry Moyer Theaters. BTW, I helped in the installation of the projection equipment at Lacey Cinemas when it first opened in 1979. I still do some work for Tom Moyer once in a while.

The new Martin Village theater is now open (complete with television commercials before each movie).

Lvpierson on August 29, 2005 at 7:25 am

Both of those theaters were terrible, especially the capital mall one which resembled a chicken house that hadn’t been taken care of. At least they could have lowered their prices, but no such benefit for the customer. We’ve had to drive to Yelm Prarie Cinemas for the last year, so we are happy that there is a new theatre in town……but I wish it was a different company(maybe cineplex odeon or something), and I’m just waiting for this theatre to go downhill like the last. Why don’t they have more pride as a company and take care of their buildings? I think if they can’t do a better job for this fantastic community then they should get out. I am going to try the new theatre while it is still decent…….

KenLayton on August 29, 2005 at 6:30 pm

Capital Mall Cinemas, like other leased theaters in shopping malls MUST pay the “mall fees” (fancy name for extortion) to the shopping mall company. These fees are something like 10 cents of each ticket sold, a monthy fee for “maintenance” of the common areas near the theater, and a monthly fee for “security”. All these fees are in addition to the $10,000 a month rent the theater has to pay AND the utilities, employees, insurance, and City of Olympia “Admission Tax” on each ticket sold (the City of Lacey has no such tax, BTW). I don’t see how this theater was able to stay open that long under those conditions.

The Capital Mall Cinemas are now history. I was just there today and the auditoriums are gutted, all projection & sound equipment gone, all snack bar equipment gone. It’s an empty shell now. All that’s left is the ‘Cinemas’ signs on the outside of the building.

KenLayton on September 1, 2005 at 5:33 am

The keys to the Capital Mall Cinemas building have been officially turned in to the mall office. The mall will now develop that space into a different use (partly storage and a couple of small shops I think).

mattphillips05 on November 8, 2005 at 4:06 pm

is this theatre still empty?
anyone with any information please email me at

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