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MOVIES: Another one bites the dust … again

  Las Vegas’ only discount theater, USA Cinemas Tropicana Cinemas — formerly the Tropicana Cinemas — has closed. Again.
  The aging multiplex at Pecos and Tropicana, which specialized in cut-rate tickets for (mostly) second-run movies, has shut down and the operators are selling the old-style seats from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  It’s five seats for $100, so if you want to outfit your home theater with genuine theater seats — albeit without the plush padding and cupholder armrests that are standard in first-run multiplexes around town — now’s your chance.
  Operator John Bentley said he couldn’t come to terms with the property’s landlord regarding the rent; the theater also has had licensing problems for live shows and "it wasn’t worth our while" to continue without the live shows.
  The theater will be a banquet hall in the future, according to Bentley.
  The shutdown is the latest chapter in a troubled history, which began in the mid-’80s as a first-run house, as a local theater operator tried to challenge Las Vegas’ reigning powerhouse, San Francisco-based Syufy Theatres. (The feds filed an anti-trust suit against Syufy, alleging monopolistic tactics, but Syufy cited the existence of other theaters, including the Tropicana, as evidence that they had no monopoly.)
  In its history, the theater has gone from first-run to art-house to discount to Spanish-language movies; a recent operator, who brought back the discount policy, closed it down before the current operator took over.
  Ironically, one of the last movies to play the Tropicana was a genuine first-run movie: "What Happens in Vegas." And this time, what happens in Vegas is a movie theater closing.

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