The largest movie screen in Minnesota is going dark.
The Imax theater at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley will close on Jan. 27, according to a letter sent to zoo members.
The theater, which has a nearly 100-foot-wide screen that stands 7 stories tall, opened in 1997. It shows regular and 3-D movies, including educational films and current Hollywood movies in wide release.
Imax did not return a request for comment on the closure.
Loren Williams, who owns several Twin Cities theaters including the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis, said the Apple Valley theater may have suffered from having fewer amenities than newer theaters, despite its screen size.
“The zoo theater doesn’t have recliners or as many concessions as some of the newer theaters,” he said.
The Marcus theaters in Shakopee and Rosemount both have recliners, for example.
The closing won’t be the end of Imax in the Twin Cities. The Science Museum in St. Paul has a 90-foot, two-dimensional dome screen. Movie theaters in the Rosedale and Southdale centers, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie and Burnsville also have licenses with Imax, although their screens are smaller than the Apple Valley or St. Paul locations.
The theater has always been operated by Imax and did not contribute to the zoo’s revenue. The Science Museum of Minnesota owns and operates its Imax theater and made a one-time payment to Imax for licensing rights.
Zoo representatives said members need to use Imax gift cards or tickets on or before Jan. 26 if the cards are redeemable only at the zoo Imax.
The theater is currently showing the Hollywood new release “Glass” and various educational movies in 3-D.