MURRELLS INLET, SC (WBTW) – Movie goers on the South Strand will have to drive further to see a film as Frank Theatres CineBowl in Inlet Square Mall has closed for good.
Mall management wouldn’t comment, but Jim Roberts the vice president of marketing and communications for Urban Retail Properties LLC said the theaters shut down permanently on Saturday at midnight.
Urban Retail is the corporate management company for Inlet Square Mall, Roberts said there are no immediate plans to fill the space.
Frank Theaters opened in 2011 as part of a major facelift for the mall, it replaced a Regal Cinemas location that shut its doors 7 months earlier.
The most recent closing took many movie goers by surprise. “I walked up to the door thinking I would go in and the door was locked and I said oh my goodness this is crazy,” said John Chiesa.
Chiesa lives in Murrells Inlet and went to the theaters every couple of weeks with a friend because it was so close to home.
“Where are we going to go now? We’re going to have to go to Market Common, we’re going to have to go to Coastal Grand Mall or someplace even further away. It’s very inconvenient,” commented Chiesa on the lack of nearby movie options.
Chiesa said the movies were what brought him to the mall, “there’s no reason to be here! the only reason to come here was the movie theater. The only.”
Now, Chiesa says he doesn’t plan on coming back, “no, unless the movie theater opens up again or some major headliner store comes in here.”
Inlet Square Mall has seen major chains closing up shop in recent years, a Planet Fitness opened last February, but many empty storefronts are left behind.
“There’s just nothing in here anymore and now with the movie theater being gone, oh my goodness, I can only imagine whats going to happen here,” said Chiesa.
News13 reached out to Frank Theatres and was told the closing came as a mutual agreement between the landlord and tenant.
The general manager of the theater declined to go on camera but said nearly 30 employees are out of a job.