By ERIC SCHAADT
NORTH BALTIMORE — The final curtain is expected to come down on North Baltimore’s 80-year-old movie theater next month.
North Baltimore Virginia Motion Pictures will show its last film in early May, according to company officials.
“It is with our deepest sadness, that we are announcing that Virginia Motion Pictures will be closing in early May, on or around the 6th as we use up supplies,” the company stated on its website.
“We would like to thank our loyal customers for their continued support.”
Gift certificates should be redeemed prior to the closure.
Doug Wickard, owner of the theater, cited dropping attendance as the reason for the closing.
“There’s just nobody coming to it,” Wickard said.
He said that for the past 19 months, he has supported the business with “money out of my own pocket.” He declined to say how much he has spent. The downtown building is owned by North Baltimore businessman Gary Luken, who has not charged the theater rent since June 2017, according to Wickard.
“He’s done what he could do,” Wickard said.
Wickard expressed hope that someone could take over the movie theater operation from him, adding he would “show them the ropes.”
In the summer of 2014, the Virginia held a fundraiser as the theater upgraded from a reel-to-reel movie system to digital projection.
The theater was first opened July 11, 1937 by Ernest and Viola Walter.
The Virginia has closed and reopened before when ownership changed hands, as it competed with area multiplexes.
“I’m not liking it,” Wickard said of the expected closure.
“It’s sad to see it go. It really is.”