The Pearl Theatre at Avenue North closed over the weekend, ending a decade-long run for the seven-screen movie house at Temple University's North Philadelphia campus. It will be replaced by what Avenue North developer Bart Blatstein calls "the city's first high-end" movie theater from AMC Theatres dubbed the AMC North Broad Street 7.
"It is a testimony for the support of this theater and how great the community around it is," Blatstein said of the incoming AMC on Monday, adding that much of the Pearl's business came from neighborhood residents.
AMC will reopen the theater to customers on Friday, and does not expect renovations to begin immediately, public relations director Ryan Noonan said. Instead, the company expects full renovations to start in early 2017, when AMC says they will begin installing new audio-visual equipment, carpets, restrooms, and more. It is not yet clear if the theater will be closed during renovations.
While it will not be a dine-in theater like some newer AMC locations, it will include plush reclining seats, hot concessions, and Coca Cola freestyle machines, similar to designs found at the AMC Marple 10 and AMC Deptford 8. The theater chain will also explore including a MacGuffins Bar & Lounge to serve beer and wine, Noonan said.
Pearl Theatres informed customers of their Philadelphia location's closing via an automated message on the theater's phone line, noting that "we hope to see you again at the movies sometime soon in a new location." The company also operates two other locations, both in Frackville, Pa.
When the Pearl Theatre at Avenue North opened in early December 2006, it was the first movie theater to open up shop in North Philadelphia in several decades. But in its first week of operation, a 16-year-old boy was shot nearby, clearing out the Pearl and marring the theater's grand opening promotion.
Prior to its closing, the Pearl hosted showings of new, mainstream Hollywood films as well as the work of independent and local filmmakers.