UPDATE:Reps from Bayou Place and Angelika both issued conflicting statements today regarding the closure. See below for more.
Anyone trying to take in a movie at the downtown Angelika this weekend got a surprise -- it's shuttered.
The doors and windows were blocked with brown paper, and a note informed moviegoers the place was gone, baby, gone.
"After 13 years of continuous service to the Houston community, the Angelika's lease has been terminated by the Angelika's landlord, Bayou Place Limited Partnership, an affiliate of the Cordish Company," the note said.
The Angelika has been home to many movies that otherwise would not get seen in Houston, indies and foreign films that didn't get picked up by the River Oaks Theater.
It also was the scene of a huge Sex and the City party when that first film opened, as we discovered to our horror when we attended a different movie there that night.
The Angelika's note said nothing about opening up elsewhere in Houston.
"The management and staff of the Angelika Film Center have enjoyed being an important part of Houston's Theater District and we leave Bayou Place with the greatest aapreciation to all those who have supported the Angelika for so many years," it said.
Greenway Plaza closed a few years ago, and the River Oaks is fighting a losing battle to keep from being turned into an Abercrombie & Fitch or something like that. There's the MFAH, of course, and Domy Books shows films, but it's still a big loss.
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Update: A Bayou Place rep issued a statement today:
The Angelika Film Center had a terrific run at Bayou Place over the past 13 years. We had hoped that they would stay longer but unfortunately, after saying they would commit, Angelika changed its mind. It is amazing to think how far downtown Houston has evolved since Bayou Place first opened and helped spark the rebirth of downtown. Bayou Place is extremely proud to have a played a leadership role in the renaissance of downtown and looks forward to being a part of the community for years and years to come. We will be upgrading Angelika with an operator of the highest quality and we will be making the announcement shortly.
A rep from the Angelika also released a statement:
To be perfectly clear, the reason for the closure of the Angelika Film Center in Houston was that it received a 30-day lease termination notice from its landlord, Bayou Place Limited Partnership, an affiliate of the Cordish Company. The notice received by Angelika stated: "This letter shall constitute notice that Bayou Place Limited Partnership is terminating Bayou Cinemas, LP's month to month tenancy effective September 18, 2010."
All matters between our landlord, Bayou Place Limited Partnership, and the Angelika have been referred by the Harris County State Court to arbitration.
Angelika has truly enjoyed the privilege of serving the Houston film community for 13 years. Today Angelika management began actively pursuing alternative cinema locations in Houston so that it can continue the Angelika tradition of bringing the best specialty films available to Houston film lovers.