For the past 15 years, the Madison community has relied on the AMC movie theater nearby in the Hilldale Shopping Center as a source for entertainment. Sadly, the AMC Madison 6 theater will be closing its doors at the end of this year, making room for a future development.
The incoming Madison Yards at Hill Farms will replace the AMC – a 21-acre mixed development made up of retail, apartments, restaurants and more. This space will include a Whole Foods, only a mile from an already existing one.
The Hilldale AMC was one of the few movie theater options easily accessible for UW-Madison students living on-campus without personal transportation. With its impending closure, what options are left?
Where to watch movies on campus
On campus, there are a couple theater options for students to watch both beloved and unfamiliar films.
The Marquee Cinema, a theater housed within Union South, is run by the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Film Committee. They screen a mixture of relatively new releases, cult classics and a variety of other films. Free regular showings open to all UW students occur every Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the semester. WUD also hosts special screenings, like the upcoming Rocky Horror Picture Show at Shannon Hall.
Another campus option is the Cinematheque, a theater specializing in showcasing international movies and “films which would otherwise never reach Madison screens.” Curated by UW-Madison academic departments and student film groups, Cinematheque provides free movies to the public in Vilas Hall, occasionally holding screenings in the Chazen Museum of Art. Its fall semester line up includes titles like “Toni,” “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” and “Dial Code Santa Claus.”
Where to see new releases
Without the Hilldale AMC, students are left with fewer options. The next closest major movie theater is the Marcus Point Cinema, but it’s nowhere near as accessible.
The Marcus is a 40-plus minute bus ride from campus on the six, while some routes require a transfer to the 67. Movie ticket prices are, on average, over 35% higher than what AMC provided. Luckily, there are plenty of options for discounts, including a student discount every Thursday.
The Flix Brewhouse provides a luxury quality to the average movie experience. Public transit options allow for UW students to take the seven and/or the 23 to the theater — about a 50 minute commute on average. With plentiful dining menu options and a microbrewery in-house, moviegoers are in for a treat. For a variety of amenities, Flix Brewhouse remains to be rather affordable for students, with prices typically hovering around $10 per ticket. Deep discounts occur weekly; every Wednesday tickets go on sale for $5.25 a piece.
The movie theater industry has taken numerous hits over the past couple years. Notably, ticket sales continue to lag behind pre-pandemic numbers. From the closure of the Market Square Theatre earlier this year to Cineworld's recent filing for bankruptcy, it seems the theater industry may never be the same.
The closing of the beloved Hilldale AMC is another sign of a dying industry, a loss many UW students will grieve.