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The Historic Inwood Theatre Is Closed, at Least Temporarily

The theater opened in 1947, and was owned by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner from 2003 to 2018. After the pandemic, it was "struggling" to remain open.
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Without fail, the cast and crew of the Dallas-Fort Worth-based theater troupe Los Bastardos arrive at the Inwood Theatre on the last Saturday of every month to perform a live shadow cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show as it’s played on one of the three screens.

Victor Entropy and his fellow castmates act out the movie below the screen, encouraging the audience to play along. But this Saturday’s show is a question mark—the theater’s landlord, Inwood Village, has posted a lockout notice on the door. 

Entropy says that although the lockout saddens the group because they feel it is their home theater, he believes the closure is only temporary. The show listing remains on the group’s website and social media accounts.

“We anticipate knowing more come Friday or Saturday, and very much hope to be gracing their stage this weekend,” he said.

The lockout notice says that Inwood Village terminated the lease on February 19 because of “a default.” The theater has been owned by Landmark Theatres since 2929 Entertainment (owned by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner) purchased Landmark in 2003. They sold the theater chain to Cohen Media Group in 2018. 

A spokesperson with Open Realty Advisors, the property management group responsible for leasing Inwood Village, declined to comment on the lockout. Landmark and Cohen Media Group did not respond to emails. The theater’s Facebook page has not been updated since January 11, and its website shows no movie listings as of Thursday.

Built in 1947, the Inwood is one of the few remaining movie theaters in Dallas built between the 1930s and 1940s. The Texas Theatre, which opened in 1931, remains one of the city’s best moviegoing experiences, melding film with events and a popular bar. The Magnolia in West Village is still open as a Violet Crown location, showing a mix of arthouse, older, and mainstream films. Highland Park Village’s Village Theatre shuttered during the pandemic and is now a Ralph Lauren store. The Forest Theater ceased showing movies in the 1960s.

While Inwood Village has filled in with tenants, and the stretch of Lovers between the Dallas North Tollway and Inwood has significantly changed since 1947, the theater remained a constant presence. Its exterior, designed by theater architect H.F. Pettigrew, remains unchanged. 

Attendance decreased in the 1970s as larger theaters with more screens opened. A fire in 1982 closed the theater for a year. But it continued to be a neighborhood favorite. A 2005 renovation restored the original Perry Nichols mural in the lobby, updated its screening rooms, added new seating, and a private bar.

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to movie theaters, including the Inwood. Manager Linda Winbigler told the Preston Hollow Advocate this month that the theater was “struggling.”

“The three showings a day are because we haven’t bounced back yet from the pandemic,” she said. “Otherwise, we would have four showings. We’re just struggling trying to keep it open.”

But even with ticket sales down, the theater held a special place in the hearts of film buffs and the neighborhood around Inwood Village. Last year, we included the Inwood in our guide to the city’s best theaters.

“What the Inwood lacks in modern amenities it makes up for in character and simplicity,” we wrote. “If you want to show up, grab a popcorn and a soda, and settle in for a movie without the hassle of servers and full-scale dining, this is the theater for you.”

Landmark recently closed several other theaters in its portfolio, including locations in Los Angeles; Albany, New York; and Peoria, Illinois. Since the pandemic began in 2019, estimates suggest that the number of movie screens nationally has dropped by about 3,000.

The Texas Property Code requires a landlord to post a written notice on the tenant’s front door when locking them out for delinquent rent payments. The notice also provides the tenant with a contact person to obtain a new key once the tenant pays the rent owed. Depending on the structure of Landmark’s lease with Inwood Village, the theater could have anywhere from three days to two months or longer to pay up before being evicted. State code requires at least three days’ written notice if a landlord wishes to evict a commercial tenant, which is called a forcible detainer.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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