Motion picture prejudice

Local theater resists to play critically acclaimed favorites and sticks to commercialized flicks

Leah Crenshaw

More stories from Leah Crenshaw

Call me Emma
January 22, 2016
It makes no cents
December 21, 2015

“Anna Karenina” photo from official movie site –

The Texarkana Cinemark movie theater is not the most glamorous movie theater in the world. Texarkana is not the most cultured city in the world, or the nation, or the state(s), or even the area of a hundred mile circle. Texarkana is not a very…cosmopolitan area. Still, with a population of about 67,000, there is a large enough group of people who would appreciate something more than action movies, Hollywood horrors, and campy children’s movies.

The Cinemark movie theater of Texarkana has an annoying habit of skipping over some of the “artsier” movies in favor of playing “Frozen” and “Frozen: Singalong” at the same time for three months. In a way, it’s understandable. The majority of Texarkana is unlikely to want to a dramatic interpretation of the tragic slide into senility that affects the elderly (Best Picture Nominee: “Nebraska”). However, people will certainly pay to see the most attractive cast on planet earth punching aliens and causing explosions in “The Avengers.”

The logic still leads to a depressing truth: Texarkana does not have the culture to support small movies. This is not Dallas or Shreveport were a small theatre can sustain itself on solely Oscar-winners, but still, a little culture wouldn’t kill us.

If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to see a movie that never came to our theater, I would have enough money to drive to Shreveport and watch them there. The list is endless. “Anna Karenina” (2012), however, is foremost in my mind. The movie adaptation of Tolstoy’s tragic romance was one of the best movies I have ever seen, but the Cinemark would never deign to play it.

A more recent example would be “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014), this one, a comedy, was created in an entirely different style than Karenina, but it had a similar, artsy target audience. After months upon months of engaging, funny, and colorful trailers, a quick glance at the Cinemark playing times revealed the tragedy: the movie was too “out there” for our local theater.

Perhaps artsy, European films are too much for Texarkana. Maybe something more localized would be better. “Dallas Buyer’s Club” was set right in Dallas, a mere three hours away, graced our theaters with the award-winning acting of Matthew McConaughey. There are even closer movies though: “The Town That Dreaded Sundown.” Set right here in Texarkana with scenes shot in our own historic downtown. That would be the ideal movie for our “small” town.

Except our movie theater is stoutly refusing to play The Texarkana Movie. Maybe this would be acceptable if it were a small, local movie, but it isn’t. The director, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, is also famous for work on “American Horror Story,” while the one of the producers, Jason Blum, also produced the multi-movie hit “Insidious.” This is not a small movie. Cinemark’s refusal to allow the Texarkana theater to play our own movie is just annoying.

Cinemark Theaters just doesn’t have the guts to go out on a limb with any obscure movies. If it’s not a guaranteed blockbuster, it’s not going to play. This philosophy, while profitable, ends up railroading the more eclectic movie fans. If you live in Texarkana and want to see Not-The-Avengers, you’re fresh out of luck. Have fun driving to Shreveport.