Central Dallas will have its first movie theater in 16 years on Monday when Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema opens its second North Texas location in The Cedars neighborhood just south of downtown. The seven-screen, 700-seat complex with rooftop bar/patio space as well capacity to screen 3D and 35mm films, was opened for the press Saturday morning who toured two of the auditoriums and the kitchen.
The first Alamo Drafthouse in the area opened in Richardson in 2013. The new venue, with a similar mix of mainstream, alternative and specialty programming, promises to add more choice for area moviegoers. “Richardson was kind of throw it on the wall and see what sticks,” said programmer James Wallace Saturday. “Now, we have two and the fun challenge is to figure out the different personalities.
“At first, the programming will be very similar,” he continued. “[But] there will be some stuff that’s not in Richardson and vice versa. The series we started in Richardson will stay in Richardson. We’re looking forward to starting some new series here in Dallas. Over time it’s going to differentiate itself and I think that it’s just going to take a couple of months to figure [it] out. I think I have a good idea of what’s going to work here but you never know. ”
Wallace and chief operating officer Bill DiGaetano said, at some point, they would like to bring in a version of Fantastic Fest, the genre film festival that takes place at Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, or a “mini-South by Southwest,” since the new theater is located next to such music venues as Southside Music Hall, Gilley’s, and Poor David’s Pub. Being close to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (where the Dallas Comic Con takes place) and the Arts District may also allow for certain types of cross-promotional or shared events not feasible for the Richardson location.
Also part of future plans: an eighth auditorium, depending on how well the theater performs. In the current configuration the largest room seats 153 while the smallest seats 49.
One of the things Wallace says he is agitating for is a statue for Robocop since the original version of the Robocop film was filmed in Dallas even though it was supposed to take place in Detroit. “Detroit has a Robocop statue. We deserve a Robocop statue,” Wallace said. “Especially with the Dallas Police Department headquarters right there. It’s perfect.”
Alamo won’t be the only theater near downtown Dallas for long. Mexico City-based Cinepolis is opening a theater in nearby Victory Park in 2017.
Still no word on a Tarrant Alamo location though. “It’s a tough market,” said DiGaetano. “[Tarrant] is saturated with theaters.”
He admits that the lack of a Tarrant theater continues to be a sore spot with some moviegoers on the western side of the Metroplex. “[They] are the bane of our social media manager’s existence,” he laughed.
He conceded there are two or three developments he’s interested in Tarrant, as well six in other North Texas areas, but declined to name them. The next two Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas set to open in North Texas will be in Little Elm and Las Colinas.
During the new theater’s soft opening phase from Monday through March 8, there will be discounts on food and non-alcholic beverages.
1005 S. Lamar
Soft opening Feb. 8
Feb. 8-11: 50 per-cent off food and non-alcoholic beverages
Feb. 12-14: 30 per-cent off food and non-alcoholic beverages
Feb. 15-21: 15 per-cent off food and non-alcoholic beverages
Feb. 22-March 8: Free order of cookies per party