The Carmike theater in the Galleria mall in Mt. Lebanon will close in mid-June, 21 years almost to the day after opening with legitimate boasts of being "the crown jewel of cinemas in the Tri-State."
The theater, which welcomed its first paying customers on June 16, 1989, will go dark June 17. No word yet on what will occupy its sprawling space on the upper level.
The six-screen theater is operated by Carmike Cinemas, a national movie chain headquartered in Columbus, Ga. It also runs the Carmike 10 at South Hills Village roughly two miles away, along with the Southland 9, Maxi-Saver 12 in West Mifflin and Wynnsong 12 in Delmont.
Dale Hurst, director of marketing for Carmike, today cited dwindling business and said the other Pittsburgh locations would not be affected. "We try everything we can to maintain a top-notch operation," he said by phone from Georgia, calling this and other closures "always the last, last, last resort."
Mayura Hooper, a spokeswoman for the Galleria, said, "We continue to be in discussion with the current tenant as well as other potential occupants."
Carmike has 245 theaters with 2,281 screens. Mr. Hurst said employees will be offered jobs at other nearby Carmike locations.
When the theater debuted, it had the most sophisticated sound system in the district along with a concession stand that supplemented traditional fare with unusual goodies such as flavored mineral water, ice cream, espresso and gourmet jelly beans.
Its initial lineup included the Academy Award-nominated "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," Stephen King's "Pet Sematary" and "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen."
The Galleria venue never had 3-D, stadium seating or cup holders built into the armrests, all standard at newer theaters, including the South Hills Village venue.
The Mt. Lebanon sixplex also lacked an outdoor marquee but the cinemas weathered changes in management and ups and downs at the mall, formerly a Kaufmann's store and now a hub for restaurants and shops such as Restoration Hardware, Godiva and Pottery Barn for Kids.
This year has not been kind to moviegoers. Pittsburghers lost the Squirrel Hill Theater in March, the Showcase Cinemas West in April and, come mid-June, the Galleria.
In early May, the Hollywood Theater in Dormont announced it would no longer be open Mondays through Wednesdays (although it is available for rental) but would screen movies only Thursdays through Sundays.
On the plus side of the balance sheet, Cinemark opened a new 16-screen theater in Robinson.