Next Month Brings the Final Curtain for Palace 9 Cinemas | Business | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Next Month Brings the Final Curtain for Palace 9 Cinemas


Published October 27, 2023 at 4:45 p.m.

  • Colin Flanders ©️ Seven Days
The credits will soon be rolling at South Burlington's Palace 9 Cinemas.

The movie theater will screen its final film on Thursday, November 9, according to owner Merrill Jarvis III, whose family opened the Shelburne Road multiplex three decades ago.

The usual suspects are to blame: an expiring lease, the streaming era and the residual effects of COVID-19, which made some people wary of crowded movie theaters.

"It's not 2019 anymore," Jarvis said.

Last year Jarvis began offering a $5 movie special on Tuesdays to fill more seats. That, coupled with a bump from the summer "Barbenheimer" craze, brought in some much-needed revenue.

But movie companies prohibit theaters from offering discounted prices more than once a week, Jarvis said, and the slowing rate of new releases during this summer's labor tensions in Hollywood has led to fewer screening options. With ticket sales lagging, Jarvis couldn't justify signing another five-year lease.

"I held off as long as I could," Jarvis said of the closure.
The Jarvis family sold the Palace 9 a few years after opening it in 1992 but bought it back in 2012. The family's two remaining theaters in the area — the Majestic 10 in Williston and the Roxy in downtown Burlington — will stay open, at least for now.

The Williston theater has rebounded from the pandemic thanks to the younger crowd, who "still have to get out of the house sometimes," Jarvis said.

The Roxy has been struggling lately, though, in part because some of its bread-and-butter customers — older, not-so-tech-savvy art and indie film aficionados — "learned how to do something they've never done before," Jarvis said.

"Run their television, with Netflix and Hulu," Jarvis said.

Jarvis has closed theaters before but said it never gets any easier. He felt particularly bad for his new Tuesday night regulars, as many have told him how grateful they are for a cheap midweek family activity.

He plans to begin offering a $5 movie night deal at the Roxy in January, he said. And in a similar show of appreciation, he will be offering a special going-away deal at the Palace 9 on its final day: $1 movie tickets, $1 popcorns and $1 sodas.

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