After being closed for the past several years, the Dobie theater is poised for a comeback.
A new management team that took over the Dobie Center student housing project and an adjacent two-story shopping mall late last year said Friday that it’s working to reopen the darkened cineplex.
Rather than leasing the theater to a new tenant, the Carlton Group, an investment firm that owns the Dobie, said it’s willing to retain ownership with an independent operator overseeing day-to-day business.
“The Dobie theater is a vital part of Austin’s cinema and cultural history,” said Matthew Bryant, general manager of Dobie Center. “We’re passionate about reviving this Austin landmark and call upon all operators and Austinites to help us make Dobie the pulse of Austin cinema once more.”
The four-screen, art deco theater opened its doors in 1972 and remained in business until 2010. During its almost 40-year run, it became a destination for a variety of uniquely Austin events, such as midnight screenings and showing movies from up-and-coming Austin directors. It also was home of the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival for a time.
If it comes back online, the Dobie theater would face increased competition from new cineplexes that have popped up in recent years, including from the nearby Violet Crown Cinema in the Second Street District, which opened in 2011 and screens an assortment of independent films.
In addition to revealing plans to bring the theater back online, Campus Living Villages, the project’s manager, has made several changes recently, including remodeling the cafeteria serving students and bringing in a new chef.