May 22--TWIN FALLS -- After almost 50 years in business, Interstate Amusements has decided to shutter its Twin Falls theaters.
"We decided we're going to be closing," Vice-President Byron Kluss told the Times-News Wednesday.
The Orpheum Theatre, in downtown Twin Falls, will close May 26. The Twin Cinema 12, on Kimberly Road, and the nearby Motor Vu Drive-In will close May 29.
The decision comes weeks after the company's long-time managing director Larry Roper announced he would retire due to health reasons.
With Roper's decision, Interstate's six stockholders began to consider the future of the theaters.
On May 8, Kluss told the Times-News Interstate had to consider the age of its owners. It also would determine whether or not it could profit in Twin Falls. Both drive-in theaters are $80,000 behind in digital upgrades, and the new Magic Valley Cinema 13, owned by Cinema West of Petaluma Calif., brought Interstate direct competition.
"We just don't think Twin Falls is big enough for 25 screens," Kluss said Wednesday.
The company has already accepted an offer on the Twin Cinema 12 property. Kluss said he doesn't know the potential owner's plans, but knows they don't involve another theater.
"That sale hasn't been finalized" he said.
A possible sale of the historic Orpheum Theater is in a "process of due diligence," Kluss said. He could not comment on the plans of potential future owners.
Both drive-in theaters went up for sale at the beginning of December, said Gregg Olsen, of Westerra Real Estate Group. The 8-acre Motor Vu lot carries a pricetag of $1.2 million, and the 7-acre Grand Vu lot is listed at $300,000.
You get a "spot in your heart" after so many years, Kluss said, but the company feels it's making the best decision.
"It's a bittersweet decision," he said, "but time runs its course."
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