If any experience can make you wish to sit down in a dark room, transported to distant places and times, it’s shopping at the Mall of America. The Theatres at Mall of America, a 14-screen movie theater owned and operated by the shopping center itself, has served as that sanctuary for eight years. But according to the Theatres’ Twitter and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, the fourth-floor cinema will close at the end of Dec. 28, 2016 to make way for a “new, first-to-market entertainment venue.”
The mall hasn’t floated any more specifics about the venue, but the term “first-to-market” promises a new take on entertainment. Presumably, “entertainment” includes live music, which has been in and out of the mall since it opened in 1992; in 2012, the Sun Current reported, “When the mall opened, its fourth floor included several bars and restaurants, as well as a comedy club.” The paper goes on to list America’s Original Sports Bar, Gator’s, and Gatlin Brothers as original tenants, but all three eventually went extinct. Even the 400 Bar, which formerly occupied a space on Minneapolis’s West Bank, couldn’t make it at the mall in 2014. The Hard Rock Cafe offers occasional live music, although its primary purpose is food and drink. Also notable, although tangentially related to live music: Paisley Park teamed up with the mall to exhibit Prince memorabilia for a month earlier this year.
MOA spokesperson Dan Jasper told the Business Journal that the Theatres at MOA’s staff “have all been offered other positions within the mall.” The next-closest movie theaters are the AMC Southdale 16 (Edina) and the Mann Theatres in St. Paul’s Highland Park.