Arts & Culture News

The Curtain Has Closed Forever on the Last Dollar Movie Theater in DFW

The discount movie theater Cinemark Hollywood USA Movies 15 in Garland is out of business for good, according to Cinemark officials.
The discount movie theater Cinemark Hollywood USA Movies 15 in Garland is out of business for good, according to Cinemark officials. Courtesy of Cinemark
Another staple of moviegoing has left the Dallas cinema scene: the dollar movie theater.

Cinemark Hollywood USA Movies 15 in Garland has officially shut off the projectors and closed its doors, according to the theater's parent company headquartered in Plano.

The 15-screen movie theater's official page on the Cinemark website and its Facebook page list the matinee priced movie house as "permanently closed."

The Cinemark Hollywood theater in Garland opened in September 1992 and closed sometime in December, according to CinemaTreasures.org.

A Cinemark representative confirmed the closed by email saying, "The closure of the Hollywood USA Movies 15 theatre is normal course of business and the result of the careful and ongoing review of our theatre fleet."

Discount or "dollar movie theaters" exclusively offer screenings at a lower price of second-run films that have just completed their initial release runs in cineplexes and larger movie houses. It's part of a larger trend that's from the Dallas to the global film going community.

The rise of coronavirus brought movie theaters to a standstill in 2020 as audiences were instructed to quarantine in their homes. Massive chains like AMC shut down theaters across the country and even filed for bankruptcy in June 2020. The lack of access to movie theaters shifted releases to digital and streaming outlets like HBO Max. Places like The Magnolia in the West Village and Look Cinema on Belt Line Road in Addison went out of business during the pandemic.

Local theaters started to reopen about eight months after the coronavirus outbreak in April 2020. Some theaters that were shuttered also found new locations or new owners. The space occupied by the indie movie house The Magnolia operated by Landmark Cinemas is being turned into The Violet Crown. The Look Dine-In Theater found a new location on Technology Boulevard and a new owner in 2021. Places like The Texas Theatre expanded its screen space by adding a second floor screening room with 165 seats.

However, theaters are far from overcoming the effects of coronavirus ,especially under the new omicron variant. A survey released last November by the movie theater industry journal The Quorum asked a more than 2,500 "pre-pandemic theater-goers" about their movie going habits in the shadow of the pandemic. The majority of respondents listed as current moviegoers would be "upset" if theaters went away for good but say that what the survey called "pain points," like prices and safety concerns over COVID-19, are preventing them from going back to theaters.

"Theatrical is at a crossroads," according to the survey's results summary. "Just as the studios are re-evaluating their marketing and distribution strategies in the wake of the disruption caused by the pandemic, theaters need to do the same." 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.