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Landmark's Dobie Theatre closing Sunday

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Ning Wang, 20, and Elizabeth Perez, 19, went to Landmark's Dobie Theatre on Monday for a screening of 'The Other Guys.' Landmark said Sunday will be the final day that it will operate the theater near the University of Texas campus.

Landmark's Dobie Theatre, the storied movie complex next to the University of Texas campus on Guadalupe Street, will be shutting down Sunday.

A short e-mail from theater manager Heather Cain confirmed the closing late Monday afternoon.

The move had been expected, but the date was unclear. In March, Landmark said it was not renewing the lease on the theaters where Richard Linklater's "Slacker" premiered in 1990. But the center's landlord, the Carlton Group, said at the time that it was talking to potential operators to take over the four-screen arthouse and return it to its tradition as an independent film space with a strong local flavor.

There was no immediate word on whether the Carlton Group, an international real estate investment bank, had secured another theater operator. As recently as last month, the owner was advertising for a theater manager.

In March, a Carlton spokesman said the company was talking with "a half-dozen to a dozen" prospective operators "to see who is the best fit to bring (the Dobie) back to where it was and ought to be."

However, the spokesman declined to identify any of them, citing the "sensitive nature" of the discussions.

"We want to get back to its heyday," the spokesman said, which in the latter 1990s included director Quentin Tarantino launching his famous QT film festivals, in which he showed his personal collection of movies and held question-and-answer sessions with audiences.

In the mid-1980s, the Dobie became the first home for Austin Film Society screenings, organized by filmmakers Linklater and Lee Daniel.

The Dobie also is where its former owner, Scott Dinger, founded the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival in 1987.

Denver-based Landmark is one of the premier arthouse theater chains in the United States. It operates theaters in Dallas as well as Houston.

As Landmark pulls out of the Dobie, the Austin movie theater scene continues to change.

Violet Crown Cinema, 434 W. Second St., is expected to open in December. It will be a four-screen, 200-seat boutique theater showing exclusively art, foreign and independent films in the heart of Austin's Second Street district. It will feature a full-service bar, cocktail lounge, bar food and other concessions.

Gold Class Cinema at the Domain opened in May. It's an upscale eight-screen cineplex, with cozy auditoriums featuring 24 to 40 seats each. Seats are fully reclining armchairs. A semi-gourmet food menu, 80 wines and dozens of beers are available.

Tim League, the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, plans to open a new theater in Austin's Circle C subdivision next year, as well as one in the Stone Oak area of San Antonio. The company has nine Alamo locations — four in Austin, two in San Antonio, two in the Houston area and one in Winchester, Va.