The theater gods giveth and the theater gods taketh away.
Fresh off the heels of news that downtown's once-storied, now-vacant Angelika Film Center will be taken over by Prince Charming Robert Redford's Sundance Cinema comes this bit of reporting from our sister paper River Front Times: Mark Cuban, owner of everything from the Dallas Mavericks to HDNet, has put up his Landmark Theatres chain for sale. Also being sold is Cuban's indie-film distributing company Magnolia Pictures. The auction was reported late last night by Bloomberg.
Landmark owns 55 theaters across the country, including the Inwood in Dallas and the River Oaks Theatre in Houston.
What does this mean for the historic Art Deco theater, one of Houston's few remaining vestiges of indie cinema? River Oaks has long been plagued by rumors that property owner Weingarten wanted to demolish the building. They and Landmark stated a few year back that there were no plans to close the theater, but their case wasn't helped much by the "renovation" of the matching Art Deco shopping center across West Gray in 2006. Weingarten also owns the Alabama Theatre, which though empty is thankfully still standing.
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Most recently, the River Oaks Theatre has teamed up with micro cinema Aurora Picture Show to screen the Houston street art documentary Stick 'Em Up, in addition to regular midnight screenings of cult films and daily screenings of independent movies.
Mark Cuban reportedly told Bloomberg via email that he was just testing the waters and that he "won't sell unless the offer is very, very compelling."
Art Attack has a call into Landmark's HQ. We'll report back if we hear anything new.