Movie Theater News

Indie film house takes over Magnolia theater at Dallas' West Village

Indie film house takes over Magnolia theater at Dallas' West Village

Violet Crown theater seats
The seats are extra roomy and have a table for food and drink. Violet Crown

There's a cool new movie theater concept coming to Dallas. Called Violet Crown, it's an Austin-based indie-theater chain, and will open in a prominent location: the former Magnolia Theatre in West Village, which closed in March due to COVID-19.

According to a representative, the new theater will open in spring 2022, bringing a moviegoing experience back to the West Village.

Violet Crown got its start in 2011 in Austin, where it opened in the 2nd Street District with a focus on independent and art films. There are also locations in Santa Fe and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Violet Crown is from Bill Banowsky, one of the original founders of Magnolia. So he knows the space.

The theater will receive a complete renovation, including state-of-the-art digital cinema technology, wall-to-wall screens, and luxury reclining seats with footrests in all five of its auditoriums.

In addition to the usual concessions, Violet Crown Dallas will also contain a restaurant and full bar with craft beer, wine, cider, and signature cocktails.

The Magnolia debuted at the West Village in January 2002 to great acclaim for its Art Deco style, cozy theaters, and variety of programming — right on the heels of the 2001 opening of the Angelika at Mockingbird Station, giving Dallas a quick indie-film-scene boost.

Violet Crown champions those indie theater values. Rather than huge theaters, they feature smaller auditoriums with 50 to 60 seats. They screen both new/mainstream releases and a repertory program of classics, across the cinematic spectrum, from family-friendly to indie films. The Austin location, which reopened in May 2021, is currently showing Last Night in Soho, Spencer, and Dune.

The seating is also superior — more like an athletic event where you get an assigned seat when you buy your ticket.

To avoid interrupting movie viewing, they do not provide wait service inside the auditorium. Food and drink is sold in the lobby, and each seat is equipped with a retractable fold-out tray.

"We aim to provide the best cinema experience possible," they say on their website. "That means our snacks and drinks must be delicious. Our space must be safe and clean. Our staff must be courteous and effective. The film viewing we offer must be free from disruptions."

They also espouse a connection to the community, providing spaces for public entertainment, supporting neighbors, and partnering with local vendors.

They'll bring another dose of heat to the West Village, which is currently on fire, with recently announced new restaurant openings that include Mendocino Farms and Sweetgreen.

In a statement, Violet Crown Chief Operating Officer Melody Smith says the Dallas location will uphold their commitment to celebrating and preserving the magic of cinema.

"Our approach to elevating the cinema experience has always been to combine a top-level viewing experience with  great food and drinks and best-in-class customer service," Smith says.