The final curtain: River Oaks Theatre to close indefinitely

Curtain closes for River Oaks theatre
Curtain closes for River Oaks theatre

River Oaks Theatre’s last showing happened Thursday evening as the movie venue plans to shutter indefinitely.

Less than one month ago, news broke that the cinema was at risk of closing as lease negotiations between Landmark Theatres and Weingarten Realty stalled.

[RELATED: River Oaks Theater faces risk of closure as lease comes to an end]

An announcement made on the River Oaks Theatre Facebook page revealed its last day in operation would be Thursday, March 25.

“We want to thank everyone for the overwhelming support that was offered to save Landmark’s lease at the River Oaks Theatre,” the post reads. “We still don’t know for sure that we are closing, but we are making plans to shutter on March 25th.”

According to River Oaks Theatre, a group has been formed in an effort to preserve the business.

Friends of River Oaks Theatre hosted two events in hopes of saving the longstanding cinema.

The Rivers Oaks Theatre opened over 80 years ago, while its current owners have been in place for about 40 years.

Sarah Gish Co-Founded Friends of River Oaks and co-organized a vigil Thursday evening after the last showing.

“It’s the last day that movies will be shown at the River Oaks Theatre as of now because we don’t know what the future holds,” Gish said. “We as a community can mourn the loss of the theatre, and also so that we can have a space to grieve, and that we can come together and be hopeful.”

Outside, film aficionados dressed up, created posters, and lit candles to honor their memories at the beloved theatre.

Linda George Smith was 7-years-old when she saw her first show in 1954.

“One of the most exciting parts was that we were on the balcony. When you’re 7, going up on the balcony with your daddy and Mr. English was a really big deal!” George Smith laughed.

Mother and daughter duo, Annette and Tara Zinn, wore feather boas and sparkly hats. The theatre has been a part of their lives for decades.

“I’m 50 now,” Tara said. “All the midnight movies. We used to get the posters and put them up.”

“She was 2 years old [when she first came to the theatre.] I’m 72!” Annette Zinn, Tara Zinn’s mother, said.

Though the River Oaks Theatre is done showing movies, for now, Gish said the Friends of River Oaks coalition will continue to think of creative ways to share the theatre’s history.

“Our plan is to carry the legacy of the theatre and to be hopeful,” Gish.


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