Best Proof Dallas isn't a Cultural Wasteland (2002)

The proliferation of art-house movie theaters

Fourteen months ago, Dallas was home to but a single art-house movie theater: the Inwood, as rundown as an Industrial Boulevard "masseuse." Then the Angelika pulled into Mockingbird Station, and where once there were three screens, suddenly there were almost a dozen. Then, earlier this year, the Magnolia opened in the West Village, adding five more screens to the mix, and the stagnant had suddenly become vibrant--exciting, even, as the three theaters began vying for titles in what has turned into an all-out bidding war. The Magnolia's been forced to suffer the most: Film distributors would prefer giving their movies to the Inwood, owned by the once-and-could-be-mighty-again Landmark chain, and the Angelika, which has a handful of theaters, simply because they have more screens nationwide; to dis them would be bad for business. Yet the Magnolia's proved this town's big enough for all comers by taking the Angelika's--and, for that matter, everyone else's--quality cast-offs (including, oh, About a Boy and Tadpole) and wringing more money out of them than anyone expected; indeed, the Magnolia actually ups grosses, making it not only this town's best first-run theater but also its best second-run venue. And the audience wins all around, because not only do we get titles that were long forced to skip Dallas, but they also last longer; we don't miss the good stuff anymore.


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