AMC's The Grand 24, Dallas, TexasAMC has announced it will be closing the first megaplex in the United States, as reported by Unfair Park last week. The Grand 24 in Dallas, Texas, opened on May 19, 1995 and instantly became a sensation, drawing crowds from across the region to experience the new-fangled stadium seating and booming digital sound system. At the time of its opening, it had more movie screens under one roof than any other theater in the world, though that record did not last long.

More importantly, its opening ushered in The Dark Times, in the view of local alt-weekly Dallas Observer at the time: "Despite their technological proficiency and ostensible convenience, there's a depressing dearth of exhibitor creativity among the megaplexes. No new art houses. No repertory houses." The article bemoaned the lack of user-friendliness and the difficulty of reaching The Grand 24, although acknowledging AMC's claim that the facility was one of the five busiest in the nation. Even more disturbing: "The multiplexes aren't designed to offer a wide selection of films, but to inundate us with the least common denominator of mainstream movie-making."

Over the past 15 years, the megaplex concept has expanded throughout the world, though some exhibitors have felt the pain of overbuilding in certain regions. Certainly it's easier than ever to see the latest wide Hollywood release; at most, you may have to wait a little on a Friday or Saturday night to see your first pick. Even art houses have been infected; this past Saturday night, my friend and I were amazed and disappointed that screenings of Exit Through the Gift Shop, the well-recommended Banksy doc, had been canceled by the Angelika Film Center in Dallas in favor of playing Sex and the City 2 on a third screen in the multiplex.
categories Movies, Cinematical