TOOELE, Utah (ABC4) — The Ritz Theater in Tooele is getting ready to play its last show before closing up shop for good.
Instead of announcing what movie will be playing in the theater for the week of Friday, June 30, Ritz Theater’s website simply reads “Closed.” A manager for the theater, Mike Booth, told ABC4 the owners, Alan and Mickie Bradshaw, have decided to retire.
“From our heart and soul, we are excited to say great changes are up and coming,” the Bradshaws posted online. “While we cherish our memories from the last 84 years, we look to the future of new memories to be made with friends and family.”
Ritz Theater confirmed on social media it’s not simply closing up for renovations, but the curtain is calling for good. Booth said there are no plans for the theater to be reopened by the family in the near future, but couldn’t share any future plans for the theater or the property.
The theater has been a staple on Tooele’s Main Street since it opened in 1939. With the tagline “Tooele’s place for movies,” The 84-year-old showhouse rotated movies weekly, showing Hollywood’s latest blockbusters at a low and affordable price.
Alan Bradshaw and his family owned and operated the Ritz Theater, and for 60 years also ran the Motor Vu Theaters. In April 2022, The Motor Vu Theater was sold to allow Alan to “pick up his fishing pole more often.” It was rebranded into the Erda Drive-In under new management. The Bradshaw family continued to operate Ritz even after selling Motor Vu.
Even while other theaters hiked up their ticket prices, Ritz Theater kept on providing family entertainment throughout the years with “the best possible value.” Children 2 and under got in free and tickets for everyone else came in at the cool price of $3, including tax.
As the movie industry began phasing out film for distribution in favor of digital copies, Ritz Theater was at risk of shutting down. The local Tooele Transcript Bulletin reported the theater did not have the money for a digital projector and planned for the 2015 summer season to be their last. It wasn’t until a projector manufacturer agreed to sell Ritz a digital projector at a discounted price that they were able to remain open.
Members of the community shared their experiences on social media, recalling their first jobs, dates with future spouses, and family trips that created lasting memories.
Ritz Theater will be going out with a bang, bringing Nintendo’s mustachioed plumber to its silver screen. “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been one of Hollywood’s biggest hits this summer, bringing in $1.3 billion in revenue worldwide.
“Please enjoy our final week with ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ as we say goodbye,” said Ritz Theater in a message to the community.