The final film: Fox East movie theater in Exeter closes

 

Ask anybody in Exeter Township for a better pairing on a late summer evening than a slice at Bruno's and the latest flick at the Fox East.

"Movie theater draws them in and after that, they come over and have pizza," said Israel Martinez, an employee of Bruno's Pizza in the Reading Mall shopping center. "They have dinner."

"I've been coming here for years," said Mike Herner of Douglassville. "I always liked it [because] it wasn't like the bigger theaters, where you have to get seats ahead of time."

Now, an important piece of the pairing is no more, as the register at the Fox East rings and the projector lights up for the last time.

The theater made local history in 1971, when it opened with two screens, becoming Berks County's first multi-screen theater. Two more screens were added later.

Mike Herner came out with a friend of his to document the final day.

"I try to do that to different stores that are shutting, just so you have a memory of them," Herner explained.

And this isn't his debut doc. The Bowl-O-Rama up the street, which closed in 2017 and is now a Sheetz, served as his first subject.

"I filmed the bowling alley," Herner recalled. "I went there on the last night. It's a shame, because, you know, they're getting rid of the old places people used to go for entertainment landmarks."

David Vogel of Leesport strolled under the marquee, trying to conjure up his first Fox East experience.

"Something I'm sure my parents had to cover my eyes, back in the day," Vogel recalled.

Now, his adult eyes are wide open, as he reflects and looks toward the future.

"Growth is gonna happen. Change is gonna happen," Vogel said. "Just remember the past and take some pictures in your head sometimes, you know?"

Fox Theaters representatives said the closure is due to lack of revenue, and their plan is to focus on the Fox Berkshire location in Wyomissing, which will have four screens added to it in 2020.