What will I do for popcorn now?
The Century III area's Maxi-Saver 12 is no more.
Well, the building is still there. But if you wanna watch a somewhat old (or just plain awful) movie for $1, you'll have to check out a Redbox. Even then, it's actually $1.20.
The reason for the theater's closure is still unknown, but it sure seems permanent. A U-Haul truck was in its parking lot by Monday afternoon.
If you're like me, the news is devastating—not just because of the cheap showings but because of the popcorn.
Perhaps not known to all, you can bypass the ticket counter at most movie theaters and head straight for the golden kernels. No ticket necessary. Then, it's back to your car.
Often, that was the way to go at the Maxi-Saver, also known as Century Square Cinemas. (No offense, of course, to the makers of Glitter, From Justin to Kelly and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. OK, some offense.)
Still, if you enjoyed two hours of sitting in what can only be described as carpeted chairs, $1 was money well-spent during my high school days enjoying Charlie's Angels in its sixth week in a theater filled by only me and four or five other teenage boys.
Even as recently as 2012, my wife and I might spend a Friday or Saturday night at the Maxi-Saver. Given how much I enjoy the snacks bar, watching a slightly aged movie for $1 as opposed to $8 or $9 at The Waterfront was a very frugal way to enjoy our time together.
Hey, the movie was "new" to us, right?
Then again, if you're like Mrs. B-W Patch, the Maxi-Saver was the best place to watch Titanic for the fifth or sixth time back in 1997/'98.
In addition to being devastated by the loss of my favorite popcorn place, I was also rather surprised to learn of the closure. How could you not make money on snacks and pop that, to my recollection, cost upwards of $5 or $6 per serving? Shows what I know.
When I was there this past year, the lines were long, and the Coke was fizzing.
Most of the patrons were under 18, which is also what makes this somewhat sad.
While it's easy to say, "Oh, well, find something else to do," it's usually hard for kids to get into trouble while going to the movies. You're essentially captive for two hours, and your parents know where you are.
What will those kids whose families can't afford more expensive movie tickets do with their free time now? Sure, they could exercise or "play outside," right? That's always a better option. But my popcorn-filled gut tells me that video games and rentals—without ever leaving the house—will be a lot of kids' alternative. Either that, or they'll find something more destructive to do.
It's also sad to see another part of the once-vibrant Century III area die off. Growing up in Pittsburgh's South Hills, I remember trips to Century III Mall as pretty exciting. (Back off. This was before the Internet.)
Now, store closings seem to outnumber store openings at that mall. I don't have the official numbers, but from a consumer's point of view, it sure looks that way. If anything, the new store openings don't excite me too much. But that's just me.
In August, the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch published a story about a Century III Mall nostalgia website. Sure, the site's awesome, but an awesome mall would be better. Perhaps it's a sign of the times with business opportunities shifting to more affluent areas.
Call me crazy, but as happening as South Hills Village is now, Century III Mall wasn't too far behind in its heyday. Check out some of those wistful images on the nostalgia website for proof. National Record Mart, anyone? B94 remote broadcasts? I think that I met "Bubba" once at one of those. Made my decade.
Although it won't qualify for the nostalgia website, the Maxi-Saver now fades into our memories, as well.
Mostly, I'm sad to see the cheap option go. And, of course, the popcorn.
Sure, you can still check out Southland 9, also in West Mifflin, for another Century III/Southland area movie theater option, but it'll cost you over $10 per person on the weekends. Not everyone can afford that.
The sign outside of the Maxi-Saver on Monday read, "Thank you for 22 wonderful years."
No, Maxi-Saver, thank you. Sticky floors or not, for 22 years, I had fun there.
Sign up for the daily Baldwin-Whitehall newsletter.