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Mystery around 2 classic Seattle movie theaters suddenly closing

Two classic Seattle movie theaters suddenly closed this week and patrons aren’t sure if the business owners are being straight with them about why.

The Guild 45th Theatre and the Seven Gables Theatre closed on Monday to the surprise of employees and management. The two movie houses are owned by Landmark Theatres. A Landmark representative provided a statement to MyNorthwest but declined to comment beyond that.

“The Seven Gables and Guild 45th cinemas have closed. Please stay tuned for further details on our renovation plans for each location. During the down time, we look forward to serving you at the Crest Cinema Center.”

That’s the same blanket statement given to theater patrons and neighbors who were surprised about the abrupt closures.

“This news caught everyone I know in the film community completely off-guard,” said KIRO Radio film critic Tom Tangney. “No one seems to know anything, but it doesn’t bode well for film buffs, I suspect.”

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The Wallyhood Blog writes that word spread on Monday that the Guild 45th Theatre was closed, yet ads for showtimes were still up. The blog also reported that theater staff and management were unaware of the closure until they showed up for work that day.

According to the Wallyhood Blog:

“I asked (a manager) about the situation and she said that it was closed for renovations, and she was unsure if it was external or internal renovations, but she mentioned it was probably both. It was an awkward exchange, and she seemed hesitant to say anymore. Wallyhood’s Jordan also popped his head in yesterday evening and spoke with the manager … it seemed like she did not believe it herself. That was the same feeling I got. He said that even she, the manager, had been unaware of the closing until that evening.”

The third cinema in the area owned by Landmark, the Crest Cinema Center, is still open.

The Facebook pages for the Guild 45th and the Seven Gables as well as their website now have notices of the closures noting the renovations. Though The Stranger reports that showtimes were still advertised for both theaters despite the closure. The Stranger suggests that both vintage Seattle movie theaters are closed for good, not for renovations. The Seattle Times further reports that patrons had a similar experience to theater staff and found out about the closures when they attempted to see a movie at the Guild 45th Monday evening.

Tangney notes that the swift closures feed a concern that classic Seattle movie theaters are fading to black.

“I’m just struck at how little is left of the Landmark Theatre chain that once dominated independent film exhibition in this town,” Tangney said. “Back when I was working with Landmark two decades ago it operated not only the Guild 45th and the Seven Gables, but also the Harvard Exit, the Egyptian, the Broadway Cinemas, the Neptune, the Varsity, Metro Cinemas, and the Crest. Now the Crest is the only Landmark Theater left, and that’s a discount house.”

“SIFF Cinemas is picking up some of the art-house slack these days but still, Seattle does seem a little diminished by these developments,” he said.

Right next door to the Guild 45th is the Iron Bull sports bar which closed its doors for repairs in November 2016. Amid news of the theater closing, Iron Bull posted a message on its Facebook page to reassure patrons they will be returning.

The Iron Bull wrote on its Facebook page, confirming it will reopen:

“Given our abrupt closure, we understand how it’s easy to believe that we won’t return, but please trust that we will and that we’re doing everything in our power to do so as soon as possible!”


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