The fate of The Princess Theater remains in the hands of Aliance Entertianment. Douglas Elliott, Oxford city manager spoke with Anne Ragains, CEO of Aliance Entertainment, Dec. 20. She revealed that Aliance Entertainment was speaking with other parties about future ownership of The Princess, according to Elliott.
Elliott has left numerous messages for Ragains since their last conversation in December. He said he continues to remind Ragains that the community would like to keep The Princess a functioning theater.
“I have called her probably four times since then and we have not connected,” Elliott said. “She did tell me last year that she basically was going to step back and take a look at things.”
David Prytherch, chair of the Oxford Planning Commission and creator of the Save The Princess Facebook page, continues to lead the community’s efforts. In December, Prytherch helped create The Friends of The Princess Theater group.
“We have seen two months without a movie theater and we know how bad that feels,” Prytherch said. “I think that people are still as motivated to save the theater. It is just a question of whether the city council or city staff is able to act on that desire and help save the theater.”
Prytherch also said he fears that The Princess may be a desirable property for more student housing.
“I cannot imagine that anyone who is seeking to buy the theater from Aliance is buying it to run a small town theater,” Prytherch said.
“I could be wrong because we don’t know who those two buyers are. The venue of that site is more [desirable] for student apartments than movie theaters.”
For now, Oxford residents and students must drive to the AMC Showplace Theatre in Hamilton or other surrounding cities to see a movie.
Miami University senior Preston Tuggle recently drove to Hamilton to see Zero Dark Thirty. Tuggle said he does not mind the drive.
“It is nice to get out of Oxford every once in a while,” Tuggle said. “The movies out right now are interesting and good movies.”
Aliance entertainment still owns the building and has kept the heat and utilities on during the chilly months since The Princess was closed.
Aliance Entertainment’s website, greatescapetheatres.com is now redirected to a Regal Entertainment Group website.
David Poland, the vice president of operations for Aliance Entertainment, could not be reached for comment.
The Princess Theater closed on Nov. 25, 2012. Elliott and Alan Kyger, the economic development director for the City of Oxford, initially planned for a short transition period for a new owner to purchase or lease the theater. Aliance Entertainment’s initial offer to donate The Princess to the city fell through in December.