Region loses another theater as AMC Classic Clarion 7 closes

When the end credits rolled on the last show at AMC Classic Clarion 7 on Sunday night, the movie theater closed its front gates for the final time, marking the end of an era for the Clarion Mall and the last movie theater in Clarion County.

General Manager Adam Schmader earlier announced the theater’s closure via Facebook. He explained the decision to close was sudden and waited to announce it to the public until he had the opportunity to tell his staff.

“Please understand that myself and my entire team are sad about the circumstance,” Schmader said via Facebook, “but we are also thankful to have been able to serve such a wonderful community. To all the guests who’ve ventured through our doors, thank you for sharing your time with us. We appreciate you and will miss you.”

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. has been struggling in recent years, reporting net losses of $227 million in the third quarter of 2022 and $224 million in 2021.

Although AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron is known for his unorthodox attempts at keeping the company’s head above water, such as equity offerings and personally engaging its investor base through social media, the company’s stock has declined by 41% since September.

When the Clarion Mall’s third anchor store, Dank’s, went out of business in the late 1990s, the space was acquired by Destinta Theaters, a regional exhibitor based in Lodi, New Jersey, and converted into a seven-screen multiplex. With a grand opening in 1999, it was the first movie theater in Clarion since the closure of The Orpheum and The Garby, both of which were on Main Street.

At the time locally, Destinta Theaters Clarion 7 offered the premiere movie theater experience, most notably remembered for its high-rise, stadium seating and digital surround sound.

Destinta Theaters also was one of the first exhibitors in the area to introduce 3D technology and the conversion from traditional 35mm film projection to the now standard digital format.

In 2012, Destinta Theaters was sold to Carmike Cinemas, which eventually went through its own acquisition with AMC in 2016 for approximately $1.1 billion, solidifying AMC Theaters as the largest movie theater chain in the world.

Just last year, the area saw the closure of The Movies at Cranberry in the Cranberry Mall, and Clarion University’s CU Movies on Main, a student owned and operated theater opened to the public, which abruptly closed its doors in April 2023.