From: Monterey Park, CA
Registered: Jun 2003
posted June 19, 2010 02:58 PM
Last Updated Friday, Jun 18 2010 11:23 PM
Northeast Bakersfield residents are losing their movie theater.
The Californian learned Friday that the United Artists East Hills Mall 10 theater complex is closing at the end of the month. UA is part of the Regal Entertainment Group, which includes Edwards Cinemas.
"The whole mall is going down," said Gizel Gallardo, at the theater Friday to see "Toy Story 3." "There aren't enough stores, and they just don't have the customers."
UA employees declined to answer questions Friday, but Bakersfield's Edwards Cinema manager Herman Mil confirmed the sister theater's closure, saying the last day of operation would be June 27. Mil said he was not authorized to say more, referring questions to the district office in Fresno. Calls there were referred to Regal's Tennessee headquarters, closed when the news surfaced. East Hills Mall manager Anne Lynch did not return calls Friday.
The movie complex is the last anchor store in the beleaguered mall, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2009. But the closure of the theater may not be all bad for the mall's future.
"I knew their lease was coming up and they were trying to decide if they were going to stay open on a month-to-month basis," said CB Richard Ellis agent Vince Roche, who is handling the building that once housed Gottschalks department store.
Roche said the theater's closure shouldn't affect his search for tenants because the theater is outdated and needs to be renovated.
"That's an older style movie theater," Roche said. "It doesn't have the high-back seats, it doesn't have stadium seating, or surround sound that theaters have nowadays."
Nor does the UA theater have 3-D capability, quickly becoming the industry standard.
"It's kind of run down, so I understand," said Kelly Lugo, who was buying a ticket for "Iron Man 2" on Friday. "But we do need a theater on this side o
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