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On the way home from Dallas-Fort Worth International last night, around 10, I swung by the site of the former AMC Grand, which the chain adiosed last year after a dispute with the building's Kansas City-based owners. I was curious to see how build-out was coming on Toby Keith's joint, which, we were told in March, was due to open "later in the summer or early fall," maybe. Keith's honky-tonk is supposed to take up the left side of the former 24-screener, and while you can't really tell from the photo above -- construction barricades and a security guard kept us at, let's say, a safe distance -- I'd say that's that a little too soon. Emails are out.
But affixed to the right side of the old Grand -- which, when it opened in 1995, was considered the most revolutionary theater in the world, given that it turned the multiplex into the googolplex -- is a shiny new sign that says "AmStar Cinemas." This logo. And, as you can tell, the entire front of the theater's been redone; doesn't look so mid-'90s anymore. Website says it'll be known as the AmStar 14; no grand opening given.
So, what is AmStar? Says here it's a subsidiary of New Orleans-based Southern Theatres, which has been around since '02 and has multiplexes throughout the Southeast -- most in small towns and mid-sized metros in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. It's just beginning its Texas expansion into El Paso, Conroe and Fort Bliss. For what it's worth: AmStar's all first-run, with a handful of IMAX screens to its credit.