This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Hi-Pointe Theatre, which closed Thursday after the final showing of the British comedy “Run Fatboy Run,” will re-open in several weeks, the owner assures the St. Louis Beacon. But regular patrons of the art house at Skinker and McCausland may not recognize what they see on its screen.
"We thought we would open up with the new ‘Indiana Jones’ movie,” said George James, who bought the theater in 1977. However, he said, the fourth movie in the Steven Spielberg adventure series was proving difficult to obtain from the distributor. In any event, he said, “these days we need to be more flexible and play mainstream commercial pictures, like last year’s ‘Charlie Wilson’s War,' and not just the art movies.”
For the past few years, the Hi-Pointe has been operated by the national Landmark movie chain, which also runs the Tivoli and the Plaza Frontenac theaters. However, the lease ran out this week, and Landmark notified James that it would not renew the arrangement. Attendance at the Hi-Pointe, a rarity these days in that it only has one screen, has been low.
“It’s been a long time since there’s been a really good art house film like ‘A Room with a View',” said James. In fact, it has been 22 years since the release of that British historical epic, which played at the Hi-Pointe for several months.
Laura Reznick, the St. Louis representative of Landmark, said she had not been told why the chain decided not to renew the lease.
Parking has been noted as a problem for the Hi-Pointe. In the evenings and on weekends, the Hi-Pointe relies on the lot of the bank across the street. But the bank is in operation on weekdays.
James said he planned on making improvements to the lobby, which is relatively cramped, and would install new equipment in the projection booth. He said the theater would re-open under new management “within four weeks, maybe sooner.”