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The CEC Theatres - Faribo West Mall Theatre in Faribault, Minnesota closed on February 1, 2012, according to a posting on the theater's web site.
The Faribault Daily News published an article about the theater's closing that day. An interview with Tony Tillemans, the Vice President of CEC Theatres, blamed low revenue and upcoming expenses related to the industry-wide conversion to Digital Cinema Projection systems:
Tillemans, vice president of CEC Theatres, said the decision to close the Faribault theater has been a long time coming.
Tillemans said Cinema 6 has been a low-grossing theater for a long time, probably because of the lack of stadium seating, which became popular after Cinema 6 was built. Now, with the movie industry switching to all-digital technology by 2013, Tillemans said the cost of new equipment outweighed keeping the theater open.
It would cost anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 per screen to change the equipment to digital; and Tillemans said Cinema 6 was already being limited on which movies it could show because the 35-millimeter film prints are becoming harder to come by.
“Faribault has a nice-sized community,” Tillemans said. “But it’s sandwiched in with theaters that already offer stadium seating and digital equipment.”
The Faribault Daily News published an article about the impact of the theater's closing on the Faribo West Mall, which recently lost WalMart as a tenant:
Faribo West Mall has gone through many changes in its more than 30-year run, including losing its connection to Wal-Mart, losing retail businesses and, most recently, losing Cinema 6.
In 2006, when the mall and Wal-Mart severed their connection so Wal-Mart could expand, Faribo West Mall lost a few businesses that couldn’t move into smaller, available spaces. With the changing economy, the mall has also lost smaller, independent businesses.
The article features interviews with mall store workers and mall attendees, mostly denying that the mall is dying and that the theater's closure was just one more nail in the coffin. The article mentions that the theater will most likely be converted back into retail space, which is what it was before it was converted into a movie theater.
The theater was the only movie theater in the City of Faribault, which is located about an hour South of Minneapolis. Moviegoers will now have to travel to the CEC Theatres - Northwoods Cinema 10 about 11 miles away in Owatonna. The CEC web site says that gift cards and passes for the closed theater will be accepted at the Owatonna location.
CEC Theatres owns and/or operates 17 locations in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.
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