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Britton Plaza theater to shut down Sunday

While the Britton 8 and other theaters close, large complexes open in Ybor and Channelside.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2001


TAMPA -- The Britton 8, the long-struggling movie theater on S Dale Mabry, plans to close its doors Sunday night.

Theater employees confirmed that the final showing will be The Gift at 5:35 p.m on Sunday.

The closing is the latest for Knoxville-based Regal Cinema Inc., which owns the Britton 8. In December, the company closed Hollywood 20 in north Tampa. Regal is the nation's largest theater chain, but has been struggling along with other chains from the pressure of industry overbuilding and the costs involved with new stadium style seating.

A spokesman for Regal could not be reached for comment.

The Britton 8 opened in 1956 with art deco styling and one theater. It expanded to two theaters, then to eight. It was remodeled in 1992.

Regal closed 350 screens in 57 theaters last year, most of which were smaller multiplex locations. Earlier this month, the company closed Embassy Six theaters on U.S. 19 in Port Richey after 21 years in business. At the time, the company said it had no immediate plans to close other theaters in the area, but was "continuing the evaluation process."

The chain is not alone. In October, AMC Theaters' Countryside 6 and Clearwater 5 closed. Meanwhile, General Cinemas announced plans last year to close theaters in nine states, including Florida. Carmike Cinemas, United Artists and California-based Edwards Theaters filed for bankruptcy protection.

Even as old theaters close, new theaters continue to open, including Regal's new Channelside theaters and AMC's mutliplex at Centro Ybor.

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