Chugiak-Eagle River Star reports that Eagle River Cinemas has gone out of business.
The theater opened as Valley River Cinemas in 1985, owned and operated by Hickel Investment Company until 2011, when Coming Attractions began leasing the building and changed the name of the theater to Eagle River Cinemas. Coming Attractions also opened The Valley Cinema in Wasilla that same year.
In the Chugiak-Eagle River Star story, both organizations cited an inability to compete with Regal Cinema Tikahtnu Stadium in Anchorage and stated that Chugiak and Eagle River residents seemed more likely to go to the more up-to-date theater in Wasilla.
Schweiger agreed, saying Chugiak-Eagle River residents who aren’t driving to Anchorage to catch a flick are going to Wasilla’s newest theater.
Schweiger also cited the cost it would take to upgrade Valley River Cinemas’ out-of-date technology — it still used 35mm film — as a reason to close down.
“It’s an old theater and it’s obsolete,” he said. “In order to justify the expense of operating the theater … several million dollars would have needed to be spent.”
It would cost an estimated $1.2 million to transfer to digital, Hickel said. And that price tag doesn’t include upgrades the theater needs, he said.
Read the full Alaska Star article here.