December 26, 2007
RIP, Greenway Theatre

Well, here's an unlovely Christmas present.

The Greenway Theatre, which has screened films in the basement of Greenway Plaza for 35 years, will close at the end of this year.

Employees say Landmark Theatres lost its lease at 5 East Greenway Plaza. Landmark, a chain that specializes in independent and foreign films, has operated the Greenway since 1994.

A board designated for patrons' reviews of offered films has turned into a makeshift memorial as people protested the closing.

Written lamentations of "We will miss you" and "NO" in bold, penciled script were posted, along with a message from a self-described 30-year patron who simply offered: "We are sorry."


Landmark informed theater employees Saturday, two days before Christmas, that they'd be laid off. A sign taped to the ticket booth announces the closing and refers all questions to Landmark's corporate office.

It also reads: "Hope you remember us fondly."

I suppose the surprising thing is that they kept the lease for this long in that part of town. Still a damn shame, though.

For those of you keeping score at home, this leaves one Landmark Theater property in Houston - the endangered/doomed River Oaks Theater. When/if that shuffles off this mortal coil, your options for seeing nonstandard fare will be (mostly) reduced to the Angelika downtown and the Alamo Drafthouse out in East San Antonio. Not the most pleasant prospect I've ever considered.

When the Greenway opened in 1972, it was hailed as an important part of developer Kenneth Schnitzer's Greenway Plaza. The development's mix of uses --office space and retail with entertainment such as the theater and a basketball arena -- was considered visionary.

Those were the days, huh? Rest in peace, Greenway Theatre.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 26, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston

Greenway Theatre was killed by no transit. It will be a vastly different story after the light rail comes to the Richmond corridor and Greenway Plaza in 2012.

Posted by: Peter Wang on December 26, 2007 8:46 AM

Greenway died because no one knew it was there. I worked there for years, and every time I heard "I've lived here for x years and I never knew this existed!" I sighed. That comment was only slightly more common than "Gee, I haven't been here in twenty years."

Posted by: Katie on December 26, 2007 12:19 PM

That's a shame. It was definitely hidden away as movie theaters go, but I found it for "Camille Claudel" and Kurosawa's "Dreams" when I was at Rice. At least you can still see older art films at the Rice Media Center, though, can't you?

Posted by: Ken on January 2, 2008 9:42 AM