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Richland Center, WI: Starlite 14 Drive-In Closed, Center Cinema to Follow September 5th

Posted on Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 2:59 PM and updated on Monday, November 11th, 2019 3:50 PM

Theater Photo Copyright 2012 SVJ Designs, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Starlite 14 Drive-In in Richland Center, Wisconsin closed September 1, 2019. The theater is owned by Lisa and Bill Muth, who are retiring from the movie business. The Muths also own the Center Cinema in downtown Richland Center, and that will be closing on September 5, 2019 as well. Both theaters are for sale.

The web site for the theaters has the following message posted:

After 31 years of bringing motion picture entertainment to the Richland Center area, Richland Theater Systems (including the Center Cinema and the Starlite 14 Drive-In) will be permanently closing. We have decided to retire from the theater business. The Center Cinema closing will be effective after shows on Thursday September 5th, 2019. The Starlite 14 Drive-In will close permanently after the completion of the 2019 season on September 1, 2019. The business will be put up for sale in the near future and all outstanding debts related to the digital conversion will be paid in full. For updates and further details, please follow us on Facebook or check our website at www.richlandmovies.com.

On behalf of the entire Muth family and our past and present employees,

Thank You for your patronage and support over the last 31 years.

The drive-in opened May 16, 1952 as the Hi-way 14 Outdoor Theater. Its closing means that there are now just eight operating drive-ins in Wisconsin. The closest is the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theatres in Wisconsin Dells, which is just under 40 miles away.

If you are interested in purchasing the theaters, they posted additional information on their Facebook page:

Beginning September 1,2019, the Center Cinema and the Starlite 14 Drive-In are for sale. These theaters are a complete turn-key operation and could be restarted within a 2 week period. Price of $180,000.00 includes both the Center Cinema and the Starlite 14 Drive-In. The theaters will not be sold separately. It is a package deal. All serious inquiries are to be directed to Gary Kershner Realty at 647-4513. He will be able to answer most questions. Tours of the properties will go through Kershner Realty. Thank you to all of our patrons over the years for the memories and hopefully a buyer will be found soon.

On closing night, they posted the following message:

Well, another season comes to an end at the Starlite 14. Its a little bittersweet knowing that I am going to retire from the theater. I will always have 31 years of memories to look back on including the biggest weekend in our 31 year history just this weekend. However, I would be a miss to take credit for this alone. It all started with the last 2 weeks with our college students who just went back to school. Abigail Spangler, Hannah Jorgenson, and Valarie Kratochwill, Thank you for help get us set up for what has just happened. Next to Kim Parker who transfered down from Center Cinema to help, Colleen Parker Jim Crist and Helen Crist who have helped make this weekend happened. To Nina Kenefick who came back to town to help on our final weekend. Jill Muth who has been our rock manageing our concession stand working hard to keep in running proficiently. And to our son Cole who came down to trouble shoot and went above and beyond and then helped one of our customers who had lost his dog and searched for over an hour with success I might add. And last but not least to the great customers we have had for the last 31 years. Working for all of you has been very rewarding and a real pleasure. Special thanks to my wife Lisa who is always there behind the scene working to make our theaters successful. Our sincere thanks to everyone.

Moviegoers in the area will need to visit one of the other nearby theaters, including the Blaine Theatre in Boscobel and the Dodge Theatre in Dodgeville. These theaters are more than 20 miles from Richland Center, so here's hoping that someone comes forward and continues this history of movies in the area!

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Photo above taken in May 2012. Copyright © 2012, SVJ Designs, LLC. All rights reserved.

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