Students react to Movies 8 dollar theater closing

Movies 8 will close its doors to make room for a new development, The Mix at River’s Edge. BYU students said they’re sad to see the theater go. (Abby Hay)

Cinemark Movies 8 — Provo’s dollar theater — is closing its doors, though a specific closure date has not yet been announced. Movies 8 has been in operation for 28 years, according to Cinemark.

The theater is beloved by BYU students, many of whom seemed shocked to hear the news.

“Oh no, I love that place,” said BYU sophomore Maddie Paulsen. “I’ve been there several times, especially before my mission.”

Sophomore Rachel Esplin said she frequently goes to Movies 8.

“That’s so sad,” Esplin said. “I’m bummed that it’s closing. There aren’t as many options for cheaper movie watching now.”

Junior Lucas Pinto goes to The Quarry Indoor Climbing Gym, located in the same shopping center as the theater, and said he didn’t know the theater was closing.

“I mean, I’m not a huge movie watcher anyway, but it seems like they’re not really advertising that they’re closing,” Pinto said.

The Mix at River’s Edge will likely be finished in 2019, according to Sentinel Development CEO Colby Durnin. (

The shopping plaza Movies 8 is currently located in will soon become The Mix at River’s Edge, which was formally announced in March 2016.

The Mix originally included Movies 8, but last fall Cinemark opted not to renew the lease, according to Colby Durnin, CEO of Sentinel Development, a company involved in the development of The Mix.

Students will soon have to resort to seeing movies at other theaters in Provo.

BYU junior Haley Crandall said she’ll take advantage of Cinemark’s $5 Tuesday deal more often.

“There aren’t really other options,” Crandall said.

Many students may forget that the Varsity Theatre in the Wilkinson Student Center is another option for viewing discounted movies.

Crandall said she didn’t even realize the Varsity Theatre showed current movies.

“I didn’t even really know it existed as a movie theater,” Crandall said. “I guess I would consider (watching movies there). I just always forget about it.”

BYU senior Johnny Welker said he also didn’t know the movie options at the Varsity.

“I’ve never even thought of going there to see a movie,” Welker said. “I’ve seen talent shows and stuff like that in (the Varsity Theatre), but that’s it. Now that I know it’s there, I might check it out.”

BYU student Lance Hyatt is the student manager of the Varsity Theatre Dollar Movie program. Hyatt said the theater has served more than 9,000 people this semester, with an average of 300 people per show.

“(That’s) a record number of students,” Hyatt said. “We’ve been excited.”

Tickets at the Varsity Theatre are just $1 for students and non-students alike. The audience is welcome to bring food into the Varsity Theatre.

“We don’t offer concessions,” Hyatt said. “Occasionally, we may have a special movie event where we offer more. For example, this last December we had a holiday throwback movie event where we showed the ‘Polar Express’ and served hot chocolate to anyone who bought a ticket.”

Movies are typically shown on weekends, with two movies per month and one weekend per movie. Movies are usually shown Thursday through Saturday, with two showings each night, as well as an early matinee show on Saturday.

Hyatt said as the Varsity Theatre Dollar Movie program grows, the program managers are trying to bring a greater variety of movies to students. He said they try to bring new movies to students before they are available on DVD.

BYU junior Dylan Pope said he would consider the Wilkinson Student Center’s Varsity Theatre if the seating were better.

“If someone taller than you is sitting in front of you, you can’t see over them,” Pope said. “Plus, you’ve got four options at the Varsity Theatre. It’s pretty limited.”

Sophomore Rachel Smith said she would “maybe” see movies at the Varsity Theatre.

“The dollar theater had more options,” Smith said. “I feel like maybe married students will come to the Varsity Theatre, and single students who have help from their parents will go to more expensive theaters.”

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