I spent last night at the opening of the Cinemark Alliance Town Center movie theater near the airport, which will be open to the public starting tomorrow. It’s a new venue for folks living on the north side of Fort Worth. As you can imagine, it’s a nice place with a big lobby (that includes a self-service snack bar) and two wings that lead to the auditoriums. Management from Cinemark’s corporate headquarters in Plano gave us a backstage tour peppered with all sorts of technical jargon about the projection and sound that I won’t bother you with. They showed us five movie trailers to demonstrate the new theater’s capabilities, and I detected a slight but noticeable improvement in picture clarity over the other theaters in Tarrant County. I also saw the 3D trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, and it looked absolutely glorious.
That’s not the big news, though. The big news is that the theater intends to devote one screen to art-house and independent films every week. For example, this weekend it’s one of the two theaters in Fort Worth where you can see Moonrise Kingdom. (The other one is the Rave Ridgmar.) Cinemark’s vice president of marketing and communications James Meredith told me and some of the other press types on the scene that “most of the films that play at the Angelika in Dallas will be playing here.”
I’m going to pause to let that sink in for a minute.
The implications are huge. Of course, if you’re heading up to the Alliance area from downtown Fort Worth or points south, it may take as long to fight your way up I-35 as it does to go to Dallas, depending on the hour and the day. Still, for all you Fort Worthians who have to be dragged kicking and screaming across the border into Dallas County, here’s one less reason to go over there. The Alliance location isn’t officially listed as a place for Cinemark’s art-house program, which is called CinéArts, whose only North Texas locations until now have been in Plano and Frisco. CinéArts’ current fare includes the likes of the Norwegian thriller Headhunters, the period comedy Hysteria, and the upcoming Greta Gerwig vehicle Lola Versus. Right now the only venues for such specialty films in Tarrant County are the Modern Art Museum (which only runs on the weekends) and the AMC Grapevine Mills, which has an indie series but doesn’t publicize it much or have new films every week. To be fair, I should note that the Grapevine Mills had a poster up advertising Lola Versus the last time I was there.
There’s no word yet on which art-house films will be playing at the Cinemark Alliance Town Center in the following weeks. If their definition of “independent films” includes The Amazing Spider-Man (which is indeed opening at the Angelika Dallas along with everywhere else in July), then that’s not going to have much of an impact. However, if Cinemark sticks to its promise, then that’ll expand your range of choices for a night out at the movies. It’ll also have an impact on this publication’s Film page, since it’s the Weekly‘s policy to wait until art-house films in Dallas migrate over to Tarrant County before we review them. It will mean I’ll have more choices about which movies to review. That should offer you, the readers, a better experience. We need to keep tabs on this, but this theater opening left me excited for reasons I never expected.