5NEWS Exclusive: MovieLounge Owner Talks About Tough Decision To Close

FORT SMITH (KFSM)—In less than a week, MovieLounge will close its doors for good. Since the announcement, many loyal customers are stopping by one last time.

“MovieLounge has always been a place where me and my wife go for a special occasion, so it's sad that it's leaving the area,” Weston Lacewell said. “I think they provided something to this area that we've never had before.”

Lacewell and his wife Kristen went to MovieLounge over the weekend one last time.

“We stayed for about three hours and saw a lot of people have a good time ... lots of dancing, lots of singing,” Lacewell said.

MovieLounge posted on Facebook announcing they will be closing Oct. 1.

Owner Dwight Curry spoke exclusively with 5NEWS on Monday (Sept. 25) about the tough business decision.

"When things were really great, things were really great,” he said. “Those times in between were just too frequent.”

MovieLounge isn’t just a place to go see a film. They also have a full-service bar and restaurant. Sometimes there is live music and dancing. Larry Bedell and Justin Edwards were both crowd favorites.

“It’s a difficult business,” Curry said. “We gave it our best shot, tried really hard, had a lot of fun and don’t have any regrets.”

Curry said at the end of the day, the movie industry is tough, and the restaurant business is difficult too. Combining them both was a major challenge.

“We were fortunate enough this year to start getting first-run movies, which helped,” he said. “But it was a bad year for the Box Office.”

While Curry said he spent weeks contemplating what to do, he is ready to close this chapter and put the building on the market.

“I’d love to see something else unique and different for Fort Smith come in,” Curry said.

You can still grab a bite to eat or see a movie until Sept. 30. Larry B. will be performing Friday (Sept. 29) evening. On Saturday, there will be a big celebration starting at 7 p.m. with Justin Edwards performing.

Curry said the building will go up for lease or sale if the right offer comes along.

He got his start and continues to work in the hotel business. Curry plans to reinvest in Fort Smith in that field.

MovieLounge is also known for their modern decor and furniture. 5NEWS asked the Curry what he plans to do with that. He said some of the furniture will go to a hotel he owns in Dallas. If a restaurant ends up moving in, they can possibly use what's remaining or Curry said they will wholesale it out. MovieLounge is working to donate the banquet furniture to a local charity or church.