There was no advance warning and not even a sign to announce the news, but the pickup truck pulled up alongside the front door on Tuesday, packed with everything from toilet paper to straw dispensers, told the story: the Cine 3, Missoula’s only discount movie theater, is closed. The theater’s last screening, late Sunday, July 23, was Mission: Impossible III.
An explanation for the sudden closing was not immediately available. Local employees are not allowed to speak with the media, and a phone call placed to Carmike Cinemas’ home office in Columbus, Ga.—Carmike also owns Missoula’s Carmike 10 and Village 6, as well as 319 other theaters in 36 states—was directed to an outside public relations firm, which didn’t returns a call by press time.
That could be because Carmike has been dealing with larger problems that have only recently manifested locally. The national chain has been embroiled in accounting problems dating back to 2003, causing Nasdaq to recommend de-listing of the company’s common stock. In April, Carmike successfully appealed Nasdaq’s decision and requested a July 27 deadline for restating its financial information for 2003, 2004 and the first three quarters of 2005 in order to rectify incorrect accounting of capital and operating leases. According to the Associated Press, Carmike has since admitted it cannot meet its new deadline and is again requesting an extension to Aug. 22; Nasdaq has not responded.
In addition to the Nasdaq snafus, Carmike has also requested extensions from its senior credit lenders. And according to industry reporting, the chain is struggling to meet its pledge to install 2,300 digital projectors over the next 15 months.
In the meantime, with the closing of Cine 3 Missoula has lost 15 percent of its local movie screens during what is typically Hollywood’s busiest season. Late on Tuesday, a U-Haul pulled up to the theater to collect larger items, such as vending signs and projectors. And just like it used to be inside the theater, no one was talking.