Washington Mall Cinemas closes

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Washington Mall Cinemas has closed its doors.


A message on the website at the former eight-screen multiplex at the South Strabane Township shopping venue reads: “This location has closed. Thank you for your patronage. Dec. 18, 1987 to Jan. 20, 2013.”


Washington Mall manager Debbie Schumacher said Friday she had no information on the closure.


She referred calls to the mall’s leasing manager, Art DiDonato, who did not return a call seeking information about the theater site.


The 30-year-old theater, originally built for Cinemette Corp., was operated by Mall Cinemas since 2001. The group also operates a seven-screen multiplex at the Clearview Mall in Butler and the Winter Drive-In Theatre in Wintersville, Ohio, but no contact information for the operator was available Friday.


The clue to the closure may have been offered in an October story by the Observer-Reporter on how local movie theaters were adapting to the move to digital theaters.


A manager at Washington Mall Cinemas was quoted in the story, stating that he doubted the theater would make the switch to digital projectors, which costs about $75,000 apiece.


“We’re going to stay open as long as we can until they make it mandatory to switch over,” said manager Kevin Amos at the time.


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