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Loss of Two Landmark Theatres a Tragedy

By HOWARD MCQUITTER II

In 2003, Loews Cineplex gave way to Landmark Theatres as the new owners of the Edina Cinema at 50th and France in Edina. Altogether the Edina Cinema had been in operation for 87 years, but then came COVID-19 to force the prize of Edina closed for “good”. What a loss for us cinephiles and all other regular moviegoers who just wanted to see perhaps an art-house film or even a dashing big budget movie. I think of the countless screenings I saw there or decided to take a 6B or 6C bus to view a film of my liking (always with a pen and notebook in the dark to write my reviews). The Edina (four screens and 1300 seats) had been remodeled some time ago – beautiful, yet not gaudy. 

           There may be hope, all may not be lost for Edina. Suzanne Haugland, the building owner, told FOX 9 she’s optimistic about finding a new private partner to restart showing movies there again.

      Another Landmark theatre, Uptown Theatre, in Uptown Minneapolis was evicted from their space in May by the building’s landlord Lagoon Partners, LLC. According to the  complaint, Landmark Theatres allegedly owes $340,000

in back rent and fees. If this is true, what caused Landmark Theatres to be so remiss?

        Uptown (then called Lagoon Theatre) opened on June 3, 1916, one of the oldest theaters in the Twin Cities, surviving the Great Depression of the 1930s, World War ll, the Vietnam War, and the 1970s and 1980s. The name changed to Uptown Theatre on April 11,1929 at the same time sound came to motion pictures. A fire broke out on April 25,1939, but the theatre was soon rebuilt. When the Uptown closed in 1975, Landmark Theatres chain took it over.

        Upgrades of the Uptown Theatre began on January 31, 2012, leading to renovations from a 900-seat theater to about a 358-seat theater. To my delight it always had one screen. I saw countless films there, again with pen and pad in hand. The management and the employees were superb. The staff was as keen as I was on films, past and present. I walk by the theater weekly and lament its loss. 

Both the Edina and Uptown theaters closed because of COVID-19. I had many a wonderful time at each, only to see the day when the lights went dark permanently.

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