Santikos Theatres plans state-of-the-art Greek-themed movie palace in Fort BendCounty
San Antonio-based Santikos Theatres is betting big bucks that Fort Bend residents want a deluxe moviegoing experience. The chain breaks ground Tuesday on the Palladium, a 22-screen movie palace adorned with 40-foot-tall Greek columns, marble floors, an upstairs Agora bar and a four-screen "theater-within-a-theater" showing art and independent films with leather recliner seats and seatside dining.
The new theater, scheduled to open late next summer/early fall, will be part of a large mixed-use complex in the master-planned community of Long Meadow Farms near Richmond, about 30 miles southwest of Houston.
To provide a premier moviegoing experience, the chain is pulling out all the stops with the Fort Bend Palladium. At 180,000-square feet, it will be the largest multiplex in the chain. It is modeled after the $35 million Palladium in San Antonio, with a large column-filled atrium and a variety of food and beverage options.
It is the second foray into the Houston market for Santikos, which has eight multiplex theaters in San Antonio. In 2009, the chain opened the Silverado 19 in Tomball, where business has been excellent, CEO David Holmes said during a phone interview.
"We had have had a great experience in Tomball. But as we head west, this location is right in the path of future growth," Holmes said. "West Houston has shown phenomenal growth in Fort Bend."
Holmes acknowledges that, once the lights go down, a movie is the same in any theater, but the experience is vastly different. "You have to create an experience guests can't find anywhere else," he said.
To provide a premier moviegoing experience, the chain is pulling out all the stops with the Fort Bend Palladium. At 180,000-square feet, it will be the largest multiplex in the chain. It is modeled after the $35 million Palladium in San Antonio, with a large column-filled atrium that pays tribute to the Santikos family's Greek heritage and a variety of food and beverage options.
All screens will be oversized with state-of-the-art sound equipment. A number of theaters will have D-BOX seats that move and shake with the action that takes place on the screen. The complex will also include 16 bowling lanes, a sports bar and four restaurants. Among the food choices for theatergoers: Sushi, pizza from a fired open and gelato.
Even though home entertainment systems have grown increasingly sophisticated, Holmes is convinced that people want to get out of the house, particularly on a weekend night, for a communal moviegoing experience. He points out that movie studios, which make most of their money in the first 60-90 days after a movie is released, will continue to support the current release system in which first-run movies are shown exclusively in theaters before being released to cable, DVD and on-demand.
"As long as the public wants to see a movie in a short period of time after its release, we're still going to be in the movie business," he said.
In fact, Holmes is so pleased with Santikos' expansion (Houston is the only city outside of San Antonio where the chain is located) that he believes the chain will open more theaters in the Houston area in the future.
"Our goal is to continue to grow the footprint of these complexes in Houston. I see other opportunities there, although I can't get specific," he said.
Hopefully inside the 610 Loop?
Santikos uses humor to get moviegoers to turn off cell phones: