As you enter the lobby of one particular movie theater in Plano, you'll see all your favorite movie refreshments: soda and candy and dog treats. K9 Cinemas is the only theater designed specifically for dog owners to bring their pets along for a movie night.
Eric Lankford, the creator of K9 Cinemas, originally moved to Plano from Indiana to learn about the storm-damage industry, with the plan being to take the information he learned back home to open up a storm-repair office. Even though he saw it as a lucrative business opportunity, the world of property repair didn’t hold his interest. Lankford also adopted a dog, Bear, roughly a year ago, and after establishing a bond with Bear, he saw the need to create more spaces for dog lovers to take their pets.
“There’s no complicated thought process outside of that,” Lankford says. “I just wanted to have a business that I loved. And this is truly the first company that I’ve started that I can say with all my heart is something I’m truly passionate and happy doing.”
The grand opening was earlier this month, and it tested the concept and gauged interest from the community. Lankford proudly shared that their grand-opening screenings were accident-free, and everyone in attendance was happy with the space. Facebook reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, with perfect five-star reviews from every customer.
$12.50 grants admission for you and your furry pal, with an additional $5 for a second dog if you’re the chaperone on doggy date night. There can be only two dogs per human guest, so if you own three dogs, pick the two that didn’t eat the newspaper. All snacks are $2 because Lankford wants to buck the trend of high movie concession prices. The movies screened are planned to be family friendly, so anyone on two to four legs will feel welcome in the space. The space seats 60 chairs, but only 25 tickets per screening are sold to allow space for dogs to move around comfortably.
Each owner is responsible for cleaning up after their pets, and a back exit in the theater leads to a courtyard for owners to take their pet without disturbing other moviegoers. Up-to-date papers for each dog need to be presented on the first visit to K9 Cinemas, with an option to submit the papers on the website before arriving.
Lankford rents the space on a weekend-by-weekend basis, and the next film, Home Alone, is scheduled to play Dec. 21. Following those screenings, Elf will screen the day after Christmas. The next step for K9 Cinemas is to have it open every weekend, but Lankford estimated he will need to sell out all 25 tickets per showing to make enough money to pay for the space.
“We have to have sold-out shows over these next two showings that we have scheduled in order for us to be able to afford to keep the lights on and keep the doors open for the public in January,” Lankford says. “We obviously have to pay for that time ahead, and I can’t afford to pay to have the theater rented out before the next week, then only have two people show up.”
For more information on showtimes, visit the website.