What Happened to Cinemark Barton Creek?
Slackerwood received an email this week from reader Roger K, asking if any of us knew what happened to Cinemark Barton Creek, the theater on Walsh Tarleton near (but not in) the mall. He noted, "No showtimes in the Chronicle or on Fandango. They had a nice semi-arty mix, literally between Arbor and AMC."
Fortunately, Austin Movie Blog has the answer to this one. Chris Garcia reported that the theater closed in mid-to-late September. Cinemark is opening a new giant multiplex instead, out at Bee Cave/71 as part of the Hill Country Galleria complex. (Since this is a film-related blog, I will omit comments about the sprawling new development, except to point out that unlike the old Cinemark, this one is probably not accessible by bus.)
Garcia points out that the old Cinemark theater wasn't in good shape and had lousy projection quality -- the article is titled "We'll just say it: Good riddance!" in case you didn't get the hint. I haven't been to the theater much in the past couple of years, since we live further north, but I definitely noticed a decline.
Garcia received so many comments defending the old Cinemark theater that he wrote a follow-up entry that links to his excellent 2004 article about movie-theater projection bulbs and projection quality in Austin theaters. Be sure to click the links at the bottom and read the entire story. I'd love to see him update his info on projection in local theaters for 2007 -- I'd be especially interested to hear his opinions on quality at the Dobie and Arbor.
Personally, I don't understand why theaters would offer sub-quality visuals and sound, since it will only drive more people to see movies at home on higher quality home theater systems. (I wrote an article for Cinematical about this problem earlier this year.) Hopefully the new Cinemark will at least offer a better viewing experience. No word yet on whether the theater will have a "semi-arty mix," but considering it's in a remote suburban strip mall full of big-chain stores, I don't feel optimistic.