Archived Story

Theater owner addresses closing, future plans

Published 11:39am Wednesday, April 17, 2013

By DR. ERIK LESSMAN

I want to say thanks to the patrons of the Marengo Theatre for their faithful attendance over the years. That is why it is so regrettable that Sunday, April 14 was the last movie showing at the Marengo Theatre. I’m sorry for the inconvenience that it has caused.

The theater has been losing money for over a year now, but I was hoping that some things would change and we can turn profitable again. Unfortunately, the situation got worse. The theater has been one of the few activities in town that people could do on a regular basis, so I was doing some extra work to provide the finances to keep it open. It got to the point that I was spending 2 weekends a month away from my family to keep it from closing. Last week, I had to borrow money to keep it open, so I knew it was time to close.

We’ve heard that all the movie companies will soon be going entirely to digital “films.” We were one of the few movie theaters that had not gone digital, and it would cost close to $100,000 to upgrade. I love Demopolis, but I couldn’t put my family through that much of a financial strain.

I want to give a special thanks to Jason Marlowe the projectionist. He always worked when we asked him, he never called in sick or asked for a day off, and always had a great attitude. Thanks Jason. I also want to thank Tim Soronen, Jimmy and Nadia Dukes, and Alisha and Luis Montelongo who have managed the theater since we have owned it. With my family’s move to Montgomery two years ago, I was asking more of the managers than they could provide. Similarly, they were asking more from me than I could do, long distance.

Even though the theater will be closed for weekly movies, Mike Landerfeldt will be leasing the entire building (instead of just the front for his cafe), and plans to make it available for special events. He tells me that he is contemplating classic movies, dinner-theater events, special movies for school or the library, and hopes to work with the football team during the fall. If you have any questions, call the Marengo Cafe at 341-4554.

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