The curtain has fallen on the Cinema Twin Theaters in Goleta, leaving students in the dark when it comes to finding cheap movie tickets in the Santa Barbara area.
The Cinema Twin on Hollister Avenue, also known as the “three dollar theater,” officially closed its doors on Feb. 20. The theater, which offered showings of second-run movies for only $3, was owned and operated by the Metropolitan Theatres Corporation (MTC), the same company that owns Camino Real Cinemas in Goleta and the Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara. Robert Breland, the general manager of MTC, said the corporation chose to close the theater because it was too rundown to attract customers and would be too costly to renovate.
“We just weren’t selling any product – no one was coming in,” Breland said.
Breland said there are no plans to re-open the theater in the future, and that most of MTC’s efforts will be focused on renovating and maintaining the other theaters it owns in the surrounding area.
“The Cinema Twin is permanently closed,” Breland said.
Tom Hurd, owner of Emerald Video in Isla Vista, said he understands why MTC decided it was too costly to renovate the Cinema Twin.
“They never really kept the place up,” Hurd said. “You would walk in there and there would be plastic bags on half the chairs. Plus, it was like airplane seating in there – the theaters were really narrow.”
DJ Palladino is the coordinator of Magic Lantern Films, a group that coordinates movie showings in I.V. that are designed to appeal to students’ tastes and budgets. He said MTC’s decision to close the Cinema Twin may have been influenced by the fact that movies go from theaters to home video more rapidly nowadays, and people are less likely to buy tickets for second-run movies when they can see them on DVD.
“[MTC knows] that DVD releases are going to continue to be closer and closer to the time that the movie leaves the theaters,” he said. “If there’s no time for second opportunity releases, it’s not profitable to show it again.”
DJ Palladino said the closure of the Cinema Twin could be a good thing economically for Magic Lantern Films, but he said he thinks the loss of the theater is still going to hurt students.
“It’s really a drag – there are less and less things for students to do affordably,” he said. “Yes, it might be good for Magic Lantern, but we’re not doing it for the money, we just want to break even so we can stay open another year.”
Currently movie tickets at theaters such as Camino Real Cinemas in the area are priced at $8 for adults and $5.75 for children and matinees. Hurd said the demise of affordable movie tickets in the area could help Emerald Video.
“I think the Plaza del Oro has cheaper movie tickets, but that’s pretty far away for Isla Vista residents,” Hurd said. “The close will probably help our business.” Joe Palladino, the undergraduate advisor for the UCSB Film Studies Dept., said the theater has been popular with students for many years because the Cinema Twin allowed them to see second-run movies for less money than the other theaters in the area. He said he thinks students are going to miss the theater.
“I used to hear a lot of students talking about newly released movies, just to say they would wait for it to make it to the three-dollar theater,” he said. “It’s certainly not the greatest theater out there, but I’ll miss it.” With the exception of Associated Students Program Board and Magic Lantern Films, there are no longer any movies being shown in the area for less than $5. Josh Carrieri, a manager at Emerald Video, said the inability to see movies at a reasonable price makes it hard for students to see newly released films.
“If I go and see a shitty movie for three bucks, I’m not that pissed off,” Carrieri said. “Now I can only go see crappy movies at full price.”