GCC Furneaux Creek Cinemas I-VII
2625 Old Denton Road,
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Previous Names: Star Cinema, Cinema Grill Café
In 1983, the fast-growing Dallas suburb of Carrollton had just surpassed 50,000 citizens and projected to eclipse 80,000 by 1990. In 1970, it had just 13,855 people and was served by the 2-screen Rebel Drive-In, and an old downtown movie theatre, the Plaza Theatre. In Carrollton’s growth spurt, the Trinity Mills / Old Denton Road area would receive an astonishing 21 movie screens. It would start here with General Cinema’s Furneaux Creek Village I-VII.
Paul Broadhead & Associates announced the 182-acre Furneaux Creek shopping center in 1982 anchored by Mervyn’s of California and featuring three restaurants and the General Cinema Corp.’s (GCC’s) 7-plex at the opening and, soon thereafter, a popular shoe store, Elder-Beerman Stores Corp.’s El-Bee Shoe Outlet. The GCC Furneaux Creek Cinemas I-VII launched on December 9, 1983 at 2625 Old Denton Road. It opened with “Yentl,” “Christine", “Sudden Impact", “Never Say Never Again", and a Smurfs film.
Despite limited street visibility, the theatre was an immediate hit as people loved the dining and shopping alternatives. The shopping center had a subdued architectural feel and the GCC cinema used understated and dark color palette creating a calm and abnormally darker than average lobby environment. The theatre had one Dolby Stereo auditorium and could present 70mm films at some point. GCC would use its business strategy to plop down another multiplex where one was doing brisk business. It had done this at the Town East Mall in Mesquite, Northpak Center and Redbird Mall in the DFW area.
Caddy corner to Furneaux Creek Village, a 182,000 square foot, non-descript shopping strip called Carrollton Towne Centre was announced in 1986. GCC would take a well-hidden 25,175 square foot spot tucked away in the back of that strip. The theatre was brighter than its neighbor. That said, the architecturally-bland Carrollton 6 matched the benign shopping center launching July 24, 1987. The theatre had mediocre sound options and wasn’t a destination theatre by any stretch. But GCC had tight control of the Carrollton zone with its 13 screens caddy corner from one another. Success was rather short-lived.
Furneaux Creek’s creator Broadhead had now moved on to chairman of an upstart movie circuit, Cinemark. He and LeRoy Mitchell made what they called a “risky move” by encroaching on the Carrollton zone. In 1989, the three-year old circuit decided to launch an 8-screen sub-run discount house walking distance from the Furneaux Creek shopping center at 1130 W. Trinity Mills Road. The city had gone from one screen in 1983 to 21 screens when the Cinemark opened November 10, 1989. And the risk was possibly too great as all three theatres would fall on very hard times fairly quickly.
Just to the North in Lewisville, less than five miles away on Interstate 35, a retail nexus would form around the Vista Ridge Mall – the DFW area’s newest and largest mall which opened in October of 1989. It included a 12-screen first-run Cinemark theatre as multiplexes were giving way to megaplexes of ten or more screens. The Garden Park Shopping Center just to the North of Vista Ride opened for the ill-fated (Tony) Rand Cinemas Circuit launching on July 15, 1988. A Trans-Texas eight-screen theatre and 10-screen UA Lakepoint theatre joined the fun or massive overbuild in 1994 with the Lewisville zone having 40 screens in a five-year period.
The better-built megaplex-era theatres would siphon film audiences from the multiplex-era and quickly-aging Carrollton theatres. Also, population shifts in the 1990s saw a surge in Korean, Chinese and Japanese residents and the marketplace would alter Furneaux Creek’s target demographic. In short, the three Carrollton theatres would all be at the wrong place at the wrong time each failing to reach the end of their original lease periods.
The GCC Carrollton was the first casualty closing in September of 1998 as GCC focused on its Furneaux Creek operation. Things weren’t any better for Cinemark as it closed up shop at its Movies 8 in July of 2000, a rare misstep for the firm. GCC was doomed with its multiplex-centric business model and would close just three months later. That said, the GCC Furneaux Creek got a vote of confidence on October 5, 2000 when four GCCs were shuttered leaving just the Galleria, the Furneaux, and the newly-built Irving Mall 14 in the DFW area.
Two weeks later, GCC rethought the plan and closed the Galleria and Furneaux Creek. The last show at the Furneaux was Jamie Foxx in “Bait” with two patrons. The other six auditoriums went out dark with no patrons and the films removed from the booth as the theatre closed quickly and quietly before the evening’s posted showtimes could run.
It was hard to imagine that the Carrollton zone had gone down to zero screens so quickly. Star Cinema took on the Furneaux Creek very briefly opening in November of 2000 with “Little Nicky” and six other features. But that operation learned what GCC already discovered. There were no patrons to be had and it closed quickly as Star Cinema moved to the former GCC Town East briefly and then, finally, to the former AMC Towne Crossing – briefly - before surrendering to the megaplex era.
A hastily-created Cinema Grill Café by a fledgling circuit of the same name based in Atlanta, Georgia, came into the Furneaux Creek basically removing rows of seats to put in tables for full-kitchen service movies with meals. That launched May 8, 2002 with a ribbon cutting but was a quick failure.
The Furneaux Creek Cinema was completely gutted revealing just a giant hand-painted General Cinema logo on its back wall. It was converted into a vibrant Korean market. The GCC Carrollton Towne Center was home to a gym which failed and became the City Night KTV Karaoke Bar & Café in the renamed Carrollton Walk Shopping Center. The Cinemak Movies 8 became a church but was the only theatre to screen movies in the 2010’s as the Cinema Oasis turned Bluebonnet screening Asian films from 2015 to 2019. And don’t worry about the Furneaux Creek Shopping Center which was a vibrant and hopping Korean shopping and restaurant draw into the 2020’s.
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