AMC Park Cities Two Theatres
4011 Villanova Street,
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Previously operated by: AMC Theatres
Previous Names: AMC Preston Center Theatres 2
Located in the Preston Center East Shopping Center adjoining Northwest Highway. The AMC Preston Center Theatres 2 was opened November 10, 1971. Initially a first-run house, it was relegated to a sub-Dollar run house.
On November 14, 1980 it was renamed AMC Park Cities Two Theatres and began screening art films exclusively, which lasted until January 28, 1982 when the theatre closed. AMC claimed “six-figure” losses mounted over the 14-month art run, and the theatre did not renew its lease. It was repurposed for the next retail occupant. The fairly nearby Inwood Theatre would change to an art film policy soon after the AMC Park Cities Two Theatres closed.
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The fast-growing AMC Theater chain wanted to follow up its game- changing AMC Northtown 6 and its follow-up AMC Northwood Hills 4 on the border of Richardson with another 42 screens with 10,000 seats in Dallas during the 1971 calendar year. On the periphery of Dallas’ Preston Hollow neighborhood, the Preston Center 2 Theatres was built by contractor Koonce & Davis and in support of AMC’s architects was Albert R. Smith, a Dallas architect. The side-by-side theaters each had their own attraction sign and entrance at the Preston Center East Shopping Center but shared every other theater amenity. The 10,200 square foot theater had two 450 seat houses for a capacity of 900 patrons (technically 446x2 892 total). Opening on Nov. 10, 1971, the theater had a first-run film in “Joe Hill” and a return presentation of “Carnal Knowledge” which had played at the General Cinema NorthPark I & II. The opening was sandwiched between AMC’s grand opening of the AMC Golden Triangle 4 in Oak Cliff in July and the Nov. 17th opening of the ill-fated AMC Western Park 4.
The theater featured first-run fare and great midnight shows. While the theater had many up days, the challenges for the twin screener were that it was land-locked, had parking challenges at key points in the day, and with only two screens was AMC’s only area theater with fewer than four screens. By 1980, AMC demoted the theater to sub-run $1 movies for all shows, a mis-match for the Preston Hollow neighborhood. Meanwhile, a sleepy twin-screen theater in Farmers Branch, TX rebranded itself from dollar house to art theater. Brought in to the Showcase was Bob Berney who had managed AMC’s Greenway 3 which, itself, had transitioned from mainstream to successful art film policy. Suddenly, AMC had a notion! The Preston theater was rebranded as the Park Cities Theatres 2 and closed after a handful of dollar screenings to renovate the theater to show art films full-time. AMC hoped that the Greenway’s success in Houston would translate within Dallas.
Starting in Nov. 17, 1980, the Park Cities 2 showed “Practice Makes Perfect,” a French film, and “Rude Boy,” a British film. The concessions now included coffee and imported candy along with much classier carpeting. For 14 months, the Park Cities 2 tried every language of film imaginable but the losses mounted to a six figure loss. Dallas proved to be a much worse draw for art films than Houston in the early 1980s. At the end of the 10-year lease cycle and a short-term re-up, the writing was on the wall and AMC would pull up anchor. On the Park Cities 2 marquee the last night of its operation, the message read on the left attraction board for screen one, “Dallas One,” and on the right attraction board for screen two, “Art Zero.” In a classy move, the theater manager addressed the audiences for the last showings of the Park Cities 2 in January of 1982 telling audiences to go to the Inwood Theater, which would switch to an all-art film policy. Meanwhile, the Showcase Cinema in Farmers Branch would move to full-time X and XXX films. And the Park Cities 2 closed up shop and would be repurposed for other retail purposes. AMC would get back to the general area moving to the AMC Highland Park Village in the Park Cities five years later.
This theatre really took off a year after it opened with the exclusive first runs of “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Pete ‘N’ Tillie”—-both running for a number of months.
1976 news story from WFAA referencing the theater https://youtu.be/kT4ndMLG41w