The final scene: Destin movie theater closes its doors

Savannah Chastain
After 28 years in Destin, Lively Cinema 10 closed its doors on Sunday night.

The final curtain has been drawn for Lively Cinema 10 in Destin. Sunday night was the final showing with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Into the Storm” being the final film selections.

“It was a sad day last night getting those last movies,” said owner Lenny Lively. “I had a bunch of kids that worked for me come by and said goodbye. You can only imagine how many kids have worked for me over the years.”

Lively Cinema 10 has been a Destin staple to both locals and visitors since its opening 27 years ago.

“I was the only theater back in ‘87,” said Lively. “The Rave opened up in 2003, so it was a long run being the only theater for 15 years.

Even after The Rave opened, Lively said business was good for several years.

“We had a lot of loyal customers and locals,” he said. “It was just convenient and the cheapest in the area.”

However, Lively told The Log that the switch from analog film to a digital format is just too costly for him to continue his business.

“What happened is-you gotta go digital,” he said.  “The cost is $40,000 per projector and I’d need 10 projectors. With the competition in Destin there is no way. It’s not worth staying open if you’re not making any money. It’s a no-win situation.”

 Lively added that this year movie goers have been significantly down from the past years.

“I had a great summer last year because of the rain,” he said. “This year we had hardly any rain at all and we are down 25 percent down from last year.”

 Today instead of movie titles the Lively Cinema 10 marquee along U.S. Hwy 98 reads; “Thanks Destin for 28 years of business.”

“I put that up last night,” said Lively. “It’s like losing your pet dog or something you know. It’s just sad.”  

Lively, who has been in the theater business for 40 years, says although he has no plans of what is next for him, he knows one thing, he is staying in Destin.

“I opened up Destin and said, ‘I’m not leaving this town,’” Lively said. “I’m still living here in Destin, I’m not going anywhere. I’ll find something.”