08 March 2006

New Independent Theater For Denver

The "Neighborhood Flix Cinema & Cafe", an art house theater with three screens with just 64, 110 and 176 seats, respectively, will join the Tattered Cover and Twist & Shout records at the Lowenstein theater on East Colfax Avenue in Denver near East High School and the Greek Town neighborhood. The Starz film center now at Auraria's Tivoli center had considered a move to the location, but then backed out (probably because the venue is smaller than its current location, or perhaps because it was concerned about losing campus traffic).

This niche in the Denver film market was once cornered by the art house theaters which are now part of the Landmark Theater chain which is comprised of the Mayan Theater on Broadway, the Esquire at 6th and Downing, and the Chez Artiste on South University near the Sunflower natural grocery store. But, competition like the Starz Film Center on the Auraria campus, and Madstone theaters has tightened Denver's independent art theater market.

Usually, movie theaters want to be as big as possible so employee costs per seat can be minimized. But, as regular art house movie fans know, these kinds of shows are often shown to nearly empty theaters, so the loss of a little peak capacity at a couple of shows a week may be made up for with reduced real estate expenses for the smaller venues (I also wouldn't be surprised if the rental deal the theater is getting is more favorable than the other tenants who may be hoping for cross selling opportunities from theater patrons). The vibe created by the downtown location and fellow tenants in the theater may be enough to allow Neighborhood Flix to make it, if other issues, like parking or patron fear of East Colfax don't get in the way.


Michael Ditto said...

Actually the Denver Film Society pulled out because they wanted so many changes to the building that it had ballooned the cost by millions of dollars. They couldn't afford the changes themselves, and the other businesses and developer didn't want to absorb those costs.

Glad there is an alternative. That means a theater within walking distance, which along with the Tattered Cover means my little neighborhood just got a whole lot sweeter.

tovah said...

same here. while I can walk to the Esquire, more fun things in walking distance makes me happy.

I have a feeling I will be spending much money in the establishments setting up shop there.

Anonymous said...

"patron fear of East Colfax"?????

Chances are good that those types of folks would not go to an arthouse film anyway.

Anonymous said...

I was there this weekend (10/27/07) and I'm very excited about it. Walking distance for me, with a full bar, and anything from the menu plus standard snack bar fare can be taken into the theaters. The size of each theater is relative to most other local theaters, with the smallest something like at Starz and the largest like something at Cherry Creek. While the $10 ticket price threw me at first (the others are getting closer to that anyway), the $1 bottles of water were refreshing in more ways than one! So overall, cost less than my typical Landmark outing.

We stayed to eat afterwards, and we were not disappointed. Great food at a reasonable price. Everyone bent over backwards to make sure we had a good experience. I'll be checking their movie listings and adding their website, flixonthefax.com, to my favorites.

Just somebody from the 'hood...