Cocke County's only movie theater closes

11:30 PM, Jan 7, 2011   |    comments
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Friday night is movie night for a lot of teenagers and couples.  But this Friday night in Cocke County, going to the movies was not an option.

"Everybody was here on Friday nights," said Tommy Smith.  "It was the place to be."

Cocke County's only movie theater, Newport Cinema 4, closed down New Year's Eve after a 15 year-run.

Judge Ben Hooper II was one of the 19 stockholders who invested in the property.

"We had projections for the growth of Cocke County that merited the establishment of the theater and those projections did not materialize.  We have not grown as we should have," Judge Hooper said.

In Hooper's opinion, the cinema closed after facing several different obstacles.  He said the theater's overhead kept getting more expensive.  The economy impacted ticket sales.  He also believes more stockholders were needed in the beginning.  But overall, Judge Hooper feels the theater reached its goal of entertaining the community.

"They [stockholders] weren't anticipating profits or a good annual dividend from the investment.  It's something that this community desperately needed," Hooper said.

Judge Hooper hopes someone reopens the facility as a movie theater.

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