In 1969, a $165,000 bond was put in place for the building of the Eric Theater near Allentown Pike and Elizabeth Avenue in Muhlenberg Township as part of the Madeira Mall tract. At first, it was a project of the Peach Development Co. of Philadelphia, which was run by Joseph and Leon Luria. Plans for the theater, named Eric Theater, included it being a single-screen venue with a seating capacity of 1,000, expected to open by December 19, 1969.

Eric Theater Reading, PA

The Philadelphia-based Sameric Corp opened the Eric Theater, located at 3225 N. Fifth St., Muhlenberg Township, on August 5, 1970, with “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.”

Eric Theater Reading, PA

By 1974, the theater underwent a significant change, dividing the large movie house into two smaller theaters by adding a wall down the middle. There were 475 seats on one side and 440 seats on the other. This change was part of a trend where bigger theaters with one screen were split up into smaller ones that could show more movies and draw more people.

Further changes came in the 1980s and 1990s, with the theater experiencing shifts in ownership and management. Notably, in 1989, Fox Theatres purchased the Eric Theater, renaming it Fox Plaza and making it part of their broader theater chain.

Fox moved out of the theater in June 1992. In December 1994, Motion Picture Entertainment, doing business as Premier Cinemas, bought the theater. Second-run shows were only 99 cents at the discount theater.

The theater stayed open as a discount theater until it closed around 2007.

The theater was taken down in the summer of 2017 to make room for the first Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Berks County. It opened on August 29, 2018, on the site of the old Eric Theater.

Popeyes Chicken Reading, PA


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