It's a wrap for Ambridge Family Theatre
Even if someone raises money to revive a shuttered Ambridge movie theater, owner Rick Cockrum said the show must go on without him and his wife Glenda.
“We're just tired,” Cockrum said on Friday. “We're going to miss it a whole lot, but we're tired.”
The couple closed the Ambridge Family Theatre on Merchant Street on Thursday because equipment that feeds 35mm film into the projector broke on Sunday. The last of thousands of films shown during the theater's 47-year history was “Maleficent” with Angelina Jolie.
“We've talked about (closing) for a while,” Cockrum said. “We've known about this because of the change to digital projection. We really didn't think we'd be able to stay open this long.”
Cockrum, 56, is a service coordinator for the Beaver County Housing Authority. He and his wife, 58, live in Monaca.
In recent years, smaller neighborhood theaters have struggled to compete with chains. Among the fallen, the Squirrel Hill Theatre closed in 2010 and the Oaks in Oakmont is expected to transform to a performing arts venue in the fall. The South Hills Theater in Dormont closed in 2001 and was razed in 2010.
Business has dwindled for several years, Cockrum said. The single-screen theater lately averaged about 60 customers a week who viewed second-run movies.
Some studios stopped providing 35mm prints of films when the industry switched to digital projection. As the supply of films dwindled, Cockrum said, theater owners waited longer for available prints. The longer the wait, the less interest audiences had in them.
“I told my wife, we're buggy-whip makers,” Cockrum said. The theater opened in 1967, and the Cockrums bought it in the late 1990s.
When the couple announced its closure on the theater's website and Facebook pages, several people suggested online fundraising, such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, to donate money for upgrades.
Between digital equipment and building upgrades, including roof repairs and electrical work, Cockrum said, someone will need a minimum of $55,000 to $65,000 to reopen.
“We'd love to see the theater stay open, but in someone else's hands,” he said.
The closure is the latest blow to Ambridge's business district. A fire destroyed Rook's Cantina 505 on July 2, two months after it opened. On July 6, fire destroyed a Merchant Street bridal consignment boutique just about to open, and an apartment above a former tanning salon. A September 2012 fire destroyed the former Charles Men's Store next to the tanning salon.
Bill Vidonic is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Hockey hypocrites, unite
- Prime time not kind to Heinz Field
- State police trooper seriously hurt when hit by vehicle in East Huntingdon
- Steelers offense puts up gaudy numbers in season’s 1st half
- Lifesharing allows families to open homes, hearts to disabled
- Range Resources reports $146M in Q3 profits on record Marcellus production
- Penguins veteran defenseman Scuderi’s game looking up
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger, offense must adjust with CB Smith out
- Highlands, Tarentum reach agreement on resource officer for Grandview Upper Elementary School
- WPIAL playoffs have been tough on teams from Allegheny, Tri-County South
- Daley to face Cook in 49th District