ONDBEAT: Looking back on better heyday for Shallotte movie theater

In recent months, we’ve had numerous calls and queries from inquiring minds and folks wanting to know: What is going on with what used to be Shallotte’s only, best movie theater?

Driving down Bridgers Road on my way home last week, a route I take frequently, I once again didn’t see much crowd or movie action going on inside or outside the premises of Coastal Stadium 10.

The nosy, investigative side of me took over.

The parking lot was empty. Both entrances were blocked with cones, sawhorses and other handy obstacles, a sure sign we weren’t going to be treated to any movies or concessions in Shallotte for yet another day.

Callers punching in the theater phone number/movie hotline (754-7469) are feted with an answering-machine message enigma:

“Thank you for calling Frank Theaters/Coastal Cinema 10 located at 5200 Bridgers Road in Shallotte, North Carolina,” greets a recorded voice. “We are currently closed due to the damage that has been sustained by Hurricane Florence. We’ll be closed for at least two to three weeks.”

It doesn’t say what hot movies are playing, because there aren’t any.

Hey, movie theater operators — it’s been more like five months since Hurricane Florence blew through the region. So what’s your excuse now?

It wasn’t that long ago I recall the good ol’ days of wandering into the theater to catch one of the latest flicks and spend a half-week’s worth of pay for a jumbo popcorn and bucket-sized Coke. I guess those nostalgic days are gone, or at least suspended. My health coach and scales thank you.

My great-great-great ancestors remember when these things used to cost a nickel, admission included. But back then movies were in black-and-white and didn’t have sound. Shallotte didn’t even have that back then.

According to the latest information gleaned via modern-day Google, movie theater owner Frank Theatres filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year in New Jersey.

According to wpgtalkradio.com, “The filings were for four different entities: Frank Entertainment Companies, Frank Theatres Management, Frank Investments and the Rio Mall shopping center in Rio Grande (N.J.).”

On its website at franktheatres.com is a statement the company owns and operates 20 theaters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

The site still lists theaters the company owns in Mount Airy, Sanford, Southern Pines, Cary and good ol’ Shallotte. It provides movie schedules for all of these North Carolina theaters except Shallotte.

I’ll keep investigating, but for now aficionados may have to drive a little farther out of town to take in a top movie this Oscars weekend, in Wilmington or across the state line in South Carolina.

Save your gas and popcorn money.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.