After 31 years of business, the Plaza 8 theater shut its doors for good on March 2, 2014 — the same night of the Academy Awards, where “12 Years A Slave,” a movie that was only in St. Joseph at the Plaza 8, won best picture.
Its absence left the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 10 as the only operating movie theater in the area for the first time in 100 years.
The writing had been on the wall for years for the Plaza 8, to the point where it became less of a question of if it would close, but when.
Film projectors failed, the increasing inclement weather put a beating on the building and pipes burst. In addition, digital projection was becoming the norm for film and plans for a supermarket at the Plaza 8 property were moving ahead.
After hosting decades of memories, from film premieres to local film screenings to “Rocky Horror Picture Show” celebrations, the theater shut its doors after all of its films played their final showing for the night. A sign that normally posted business hours read “WE ARE NOW CLOSED FORREVEERR.”
Controversy surrounded the closing of the Plaza 8 when the police were called to investigate a call of vandalism in the building. Four employees of the Plaza 8 caused thousands of dollars in damage and later pleaded guilty to charges of property damage, leaving the theater’s closing to end on a negative note.
In any light, fans of the theater said it is missed.
“The majority of movie theaters built in that time period are now facing the same demise,” said Dennis Keller, a former Plaza 8 assistant manager. “The building may disappear but the memories will always remain.”