updated 9/30/2004 1:08:26 PM ET 2004-09-30T17:08:26

It’s not quite the Phantom of the Opera, but something the janitor at a Houston movieplex saw turned out to be a show-stopper.

The 16-screen Tinseltown plex in northwest Houston has been closed for more than a week after the janitor spotted what appeared to be a Burmese python slithering in front of one of the screens.

Apparently the snake was as startled by the janitor as he was of the snake, and it hasn’t been seen since. But the owner — Cinemark U-S-A — says it won’t reopen the theaters until a professional snake-catcher certifies the serpent has left the building.

Cinemark spokeswoman Terrell Falk says three separate crews of professional snake-catchers have been brought in to look for the snake, but nothing’s been found so far.

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