Carmike Movies 2
708 E. Main Street,
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Previous Names: Jerry Lewis Cinema, Plaza Cinema, Movies 2 at Pratt Plaza
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The last of two Jerry Lewis Cinemas in Alabama to open was this location in Prattville, Alabama. The Jerry Lewis Cinema would open in the second phases of the Grant Plaza Shopping Center complex. The Plaza opened theatre-less on October 19, 1972 anchored by W.T. Grant’s Grant Land, its version of a big box discount store and auto center. The fastest growing cinema chain in the country, Jerry Lewis Cinemas, was joining the large Grant chain which was quickly trying to ramp up its Grant Land concept.
The Jerry Lewis Cinema came online abiding by the family first policy on June 21, 1973 with the G-rated film, “Pippi Longstocking”. Jim Gillian was the theater’s franchisee which, like other Jerry Lewis Cinemas locations, was fully automated and had 350-seats. But by the time the theater opened, Jerry Lewis Cinema and its parent company, Network Cinema Corporation were already in bankruptcy heading toward dissolution. The theatre was simply known as the Plaza Cinema. Financial woes were just ahead for the center’s anchor, as well.
The shopping center changed its name after less than a year in business to the Grant City Mall. The theater was under new operators. But despite the name change, the Cinema retained the Plaza moniker. Meanwhile, W.T. Grant and Grant City would become the second-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history to that point going out of business in 1975. So in 1976, the theatre got its third name becoming the Pratt Plaza Mall.
The Plaza Cinema had found its most consistent audience when the Christ Lutheran Church moved into the building conducting service in November of 1973. K-Mart moved in to the plaza in 1978; but the theatre closed in 1979 though the services continued until February of 1980.
Florida West Amusements Circuit took on the venue splitting it into two auditoriums and renaming it Movies 2 at Pratt Plaza. It relaunched on June 6, 1980 with “Star Trek” and “Urban Cowboy”. The theatre was now in the renamed, Kmart Pratt Plaza anchored by a Kmart discount store.
Carmike Circuit took on the theater operating it as a first-run house. It re-seated the venue dropping seat count from 350 to 266. But on February 2, 1990, it downgraded the location to a 99-cent discount, sub-run house. When O'Neill Circuit launched its 12-screen Promenade Cinema, Carmike reportedly stopped putting any money into needed repairs at the dying discount location.
One customer reported that the odds of finding four consecutive working seats was not possible as the theatre eked into the 21st Century. Movies 2 miraculously ran until January 20, 2000 closing with “Pokemon” and “Double Jeopardy”. It decided to not try and operate the theater despite having two and half more years of the venue’s original 30-year lease.
The theatre appears to have been demolished for a CVS drug store. The Kmart left in 2016 giving the aging plaza its fifth name of the Prattville Plaza Shopping Center.
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