Southpark 3

E. Ben White Boulevard and Woodward Street,
Austin, TX 78745

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This theater was opened December 14, 1984 in the Southpark shopping center near E. Ben White Boulevard and Woodward Street. The theater was the first with THX in Austin, and “Dune” was the first movie that ran there. The sound system was indeed very good, and the overall style of the theater was a upscale luxury theme. The theater was closed a few years later due to the expected expansion of Ben White, which ultimately didn’t begin construction until around 2003.

The theater sat vacant for a number of years, and was eventually torn down as the shopping center was reconfigured with the highway expansion.

Contributed by Steven Rogers

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

raydragon on October 24, 2007 at 11:07 pm

Southpark 3 was built/operated by Presidio Theaters. When the State of Texas purchased the right-of-way for the new freeway (that did not start construction for another 15 years), Presidio ceased operating at that location. For a while after, a local live-theater group rented for their performances.

Some information on Presidio Theaters: At their heyday, Presidio Theaters operated the Southpark 3, the Arbor 4, and the Lincoln 3, among others. The screens were consistently top performers nationally, and until Presidio Theaters was bought out, Austin had more THX-equipped screens than anyplace outside of California. The Arbor even featured seating designed by Porsche Design. Further, Presidio Theaters did not go out of business. The company, Presidio, was primarily a development/investment firm, with the theaters one portion of their business. During a real estate boom in Austin, Presidio put out notices that they were looking for money for expansion. Norman Lear came forward with an offer for his Act III chain to buy out Presidio Theaters. The managment of Presidio’s parent, not wanting to sell (people in Austin spend more per capita on movies than anyplace in the country – at least they did in the 80’s-90’s), nevertheless felt that to turn down such an offer would spell doom for any future financial needs. Unfortuantely for movie-goers in Austin, Act III was not as financially stable as Presidio, and the chain was sold to Regal.

jrpaperstack on August 27, 2013 at 12:48 am

I never could figure out why Southpark closed because it was definitely one of the better 80s theaters. Of course the location was another matter, there’s never been a residential community to REALLY support anything over there. I also heard in the 90’s it became an adult theater for a bit, but that was definitely on the gossip end of the spectrum. I do remember the great curtains they would raise before any screening.

kvhagedorn on December 20, 2017 at 2:23 am

I was there opening night to see Dune. I got there a bit late so I had to take a seat in the third row, off to the right. Boy, was it loud. The 80s was a great time for movies and movie houses, and this was among the best of them. Pity it did not stay open longer.

rivest266 on March 11, 2018 at 11:09 am

This opened on December 14th, 1984. Grand opening ad in the photo section. First THX-certified cinema in the area.

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