The Schuylkill Mall in Frackville has met the fate many others across the country, closing its doors last year. Its cinema – Pearl Theatre Stadium 8 – was on its way to a similar ending. By mid-2017, it looked like the theater would stay open until Dec. 31, but its end date was extended to this Monday. According to its Facebook page, the theater is hosting a “Come Wish Us Farewell” weekend with its current lineup of movies with seats for sale, free posters on a first-come, first-serve basis and concession and alcohol sales.
I visited the Pearl on Dec. 27, traveling more than 40 miles from Nanticoke to see “Downsizing,” a movie that was also screening 7 miles away from my house. However, if a movie house was closing, I had to see it in person before the screen goes black for the last time. The lobby was styled with catchy, contemporary colors, large-scale posters and open space. It was highly reflective of the $3 million makeover it underwent in 2013. There was a lounge for theatergoers 21 and older to enjoy a drink and snacks with their movie. I missed a showing for that experience, so I attended a regular screening. The concessions were cheap, and there was a good crowd there for a Tuesday night.
Seeing all the newness in the theater made me feel terrible about what was happening to the Pearl. Closing would mean that Schuylkill County would be without a theater. That would be hard to imagine a world like that, having to rely on Netflix and HBO for your movie fix.
Unfortunately, “Downsizing” was a terrible movie, and I wanted to walk out. If it weren’t for the 40+ miles and sub-freezing temperatures that night, I might have done so. Traveling long distances to see movies is nothing new for me. But I didn’t regret visiting the Pearl.
Luckily, for Schuylkill movie fans, there will be a new theater in Pottsville. Instead of mourning the death of a theater, we get to see what’s on the horizon.