Thursday, May 26, 2011

Old Town's Piper's Alley screens last shows tonight

Posted By on 05.26.11 at 05:28 PM

The AMC-Loews Piper’s Alley movie theater in Old Town will close its doors tonight after one final evening of screenings, set to include Cedar Rapids, I Am, The Conspirator, and Jane Eyre.

Word spread via Twitter this morning, and was first reported by Chicagoist, which expounded upon the theater’s closing.

After Loews closed the McClurg Court Cinema and merged with AMC soon afterwards, it had long been assumed that Piper's was on borrowed time.

Despite a perpetually moribund vibe and a space somewhat past its prime, Piper's Alley remained consistent as a centrally-located venue for independent, art house and foreign cinema that gets squeezed out of the bigger Loews-AMC locations.

AMC representative John Noonan confirmed the closing and released the following statement:

"AMC continually upgrades the quality of our theatre circuit by adding new screens and by disposing of older screens through closures and sales. We do, however, look at our theatres on an individual basis. Piper’s Alley has been identified as a theatre that no longer competes effectively in the marketplace and will close at the end of business today," he said.

Rob, a manager and employee of two years, echoed AMC’s complaints, attributing the shutdown to low attendance in recent years. He indicated that employees were given notice and most have found other employment. He also hinted that the building management is trying to get another theatre in the space.

Representatives from developer MLC Companies, which has owned the Piper’s Alley space on North Ave. since 1997, declined to comment on the sudden change in real estate.

Though the news has hit the public unexpectedly, Noonan said that AMC doesn’t customarily announce theatre closures to the public in advance.

AMC touts a “renewed commitment to advancing and expanding independent film” on its website, claiming that “you'll experience more distinct and unconventional films,” in locations designated as “Independent,” such as the one on North Ave. AMC will continue to show independent films at the River East 21 theater on East Illinois.

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Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Cedar Rapids, I Am, Jane Eyre, or The Conspirator

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