The Kentucky Theatre will close temporarily beginning Oct. 1 because of low ticket sales and problems getting films.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said the city hopes to reopen the historic downtown theater as soon as possible and will maintain the building in the interim.

“This is the last thing I would ever want to do. I love the Kentucky Theatre,” Gorton said in a news release. “But the management group that runs the theatre contacted us. COVID-19 has steamrolled the Kentucky. Their numbers are way down and they’re having trouble getting movies.”

The city said the company that manages the theater requested that the city terminate its contract to operate the property, which the city will do. When the theater reopens, the city would advertise for bids to run it, said city spokeswoman Susan Straub.

“We are anxious to see the theatre reopen when conditions are favorable,” Analy Scorsone, a member of the management group, said in the city’s release.

The theater has showings of Unhinged, Inception and The Big Lebowski this weekend. Tenet will open at the theater Monday, according to its online calendar.

The theater was closed because of coronavirus from March 17 to June 1.

When the theater reopened June 1, it did so with a showing of Cinema Paradiso, the same film it opened with in 1992, after a closure of more than four years because of a fire.

Longtime manager Fred Mills said then that the film, “a heart-warming story about a young boy and his lifelong love affair with movies,” was a good way to say “We’re back!” both times.

Karla Ward is a native of Logan County who has worked as a reporter at the Herald-Leader for 18 years. She covers breaking news.

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