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Macedonia Cinemark closing for refurbishment under new ownership

Empty theater
Fer Gregory
The Cinemark in Macedonia turns 25 this month, just before it closes for a major refurbishment by Missouri-based B&B Theatres.

Another Northeast Ohio cinema is closing – but not permanently. The Cinemark in Macedonia was sold to B&B Theatres. The building will close for several months on March 1, ahead of a “comprehensive remodel,” according to a press release from the Missouri-based company with locations in more than a dozen states. Renovations include heated seats and a full bar. The 15-screen theater opened in 1999.

The news comes just as two other theaters are projected to reopen this year. Michigan-based Phoenix Theatres is refurbishing the former Regal Cinema at Great Northern Mall. Mentor-based Atlas Cinemas is renovating the former Cinemark in Aurora, which closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In both cases, the new owners also plan to upgrade seating. Earlier this month, Phoenix President Cory Jacobson said what might seem like an extravagance could have made all the difference for the former Regal.

“It just opened at a point where the industry was transitioning to recliners,” he said. “This theater has standard theater seats in it. I think that... this theater just never really caught on and reached the potential that I'm sure the previous operator had intended.”

The reopenings follow a changing cinema landscape in recent years. Tower City Cinemas and the Great Oaks in Wadsworth closed during the pandemic and never reopened. Several movie houses have since closed due to the bankruptcy of Regal’s parent company: Middleburg Heights in 2022 and Montrose in 2023. Aside from Regal, the AMC Solon 16 and Chagrin Cinemas in Bainbridge also went dark around the same time.

Last year Cleveland Cinemas president Jon Forman said the Chagrin, which he operated, was “doing well,” but their landlord sold to an owner who had other plans for the space. In general, he cited streaming as one factor cutting into ticket sales on top of the lingering effects of the pandemic.

Data from Box Office Mojo shows over the past two decades, the total box office gross peaked at more than $11 billion annually from 2015-2019. It plunged to $2.1 billion in 2020 but has been rebounding each year since. In 2023, total ticket sales amounted to $8.9 billion.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.