Lakewood 8 Closure Marks End of Starplex Cinemas in Arkansas

Starplex Cinemas of Dallas has no plans to open another movie theater in Arkansas after it closed the Lakewood 8 in North Little Rock last month.

Starplex spokesman Traci Hoey said the lease expired at the Lakewood 8 and the company couldn’t reach an agreement with the management at the Lakewood Village Shopping Park. Lakewood 8 was Starplex’s only property in Arkansas.

Greg Mueller, director of operations for Lakewood Village Shopping Park LLC, didn’t see it that way, though.

He said the Lakewood 8 lost a lot of business when the Regal McCain Mall Stadium 12 opened just down the street in September. The 60,000-SF theater was capable of showing 3-D films and offered stadium seating in each auditorium.

The Regal was “getting all the better, first-run product, and there wasn’t a market left for them to have,” he said. 

He said Lakewood’s lease doesn’t expire until June. “The new, bigger theater has got the business,” Mueller said. The Ashley Group owns and manages Lakewood Village. 

Mueller said another company is going into the theater location, but he declined to say what it is. 

Hoey agreed with Mueller that the opening of the Regal was a blow to the Lakewood 8. Hoey said the movie studios would split the popular titles between the two locations. And Starplex wasn’t able to get all the first-run movies it wanted, she said. “And I think [Regal] being the newer, larger location, they got some of the better pictures,” Hoey said.

Starplex had a hard row to hoe anyway. The Lakewood 8, which opened in 1986, was one of several theaters it acquired in December from the similar sounding company, Showplex of Overland Park, Kan. Showplex had bought the Lakewood 8 from Dickinson Theatres, also of Overland Park, in 2010. Dickinson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in September and listed $2.2 million in assets and $7.6 million in debts. It is still in bankruptcy.