Meyerland Plaza 8

100 Meyerland Plaza,
Houston, TX 77096

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Entertainment Filmworks, General Cinema Corp.

Firms: Hermes & Reed

Nearby Theaters

General Cinema Houston Advert

The Meyerland Plaza Mall Shopping Center had opened theatre-less on October 31, 1957 with a Meyer’s and a Henke & Pillot as anchors followed by a Woolworth’s. In 1964, the Meyerland Plaza Mall had added an annex and announced that General Cinema Corporation would build one of three, twin-screen theatres in the Houston area. But as 20-, 25-, and 30-year leases were expiring, the Meyerland Plaza Mall Shopping Center was heading toward greyscale status - a term associated with dead shopping centers and malls. Its vibrant transformation in the mid-1990’s would bring with it a new General Cinema Theatre, the Meyerland Plaza 8 on March 17, 1995.

Getting to 1995, however, does take one through a major speedbump. The 1980’s / 1990’s story of the Meyerland Plaza was very much a cautionary tale of that period for the Houston area. The Plaza had been owned by a single entity but then became a labyrinth when the property was divided up amongst several major players in the early-1980’s. It all seemed to be an exercise in futility with the center in freefall. But the entities couldn’t make their payments and the Plaza next ended up in the hand of two financial institutions on default: Continental Savings and Loan and Lamar Savings. Perhaps fortuitously, during the savings and loan meltdown, both of these entities were dissolved as insolvent. The bad news is that the center languished terribly with no upgrades and lots of deterioration over a seven-year stretch.

GCC was likely in the best shape of the occupants (along with the Plaza’s popular video game arcade) as the theater was still booking good films and drawing crowds. General Cinema was undoubtedly going to opt out at its 30-year expiry in 1995 so likely just wanted to wring each dollar it could at the dying plaza.

General Cinema’s potential plan changed as in 1993, a single entity, Wulfe & Co., was able to untangle to labyrinthian ownership, liens and assorted legal issues plaguing the care and future of the Meyerland retail nexus. Architects Hermes & Reed along with Ray Bailey would bring the Meyerland Plaza back from the brink of despair to relevancy in the mid-1990’s. In that stunning redevelopment plan unveiled in 1994 would be the razing of the existing and operational GCC Meyerland Plaza I, II, III (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures). It would be replaced by an 8-screen General Cinema multiplex - the state of Texas’s second to last new build GCC theater.

General Cinema’s three-plex closed January 15, 1995 with demolition occurring soon thereafter. The replacement 8-screen GCC Meyerland opened on March 17, 1995. But in 1995, at the beginning of the megaplex era, 8-screens wouldn’t get much attention when 24-screen and 30-screen destination venues were just around the corner. And AMC already had a 14-screen venue nearby, to boot.

General Cinema was watching the aggressive building of new destination theatre complexes in the “megaplex era” devour its aging 6-8 screen multiplexes. Unfortunately for the circuit, they held a huge portfolio of such multiplexes and they witnessed their death in slow motion. GCC’s Meyerland was enveloped on “(GCC) Black Friday” September 29, 2000 as two dozen GCCs were shuttered. In that closing were all eleven remaining GCC Florida locations, along with 13 others - five in Atlanta, three in New Orleans, as well as Seattle, Albuquerque, Raleigh and Columbus, Ohio, and the circuit’s final Houston area venue, the Meyerland Plaza 8. General Cinema would file for bankruptcy in October of 2000 before its carcass was picked over by AMC.

It was said that the GCC Meyerland theatre carried on all the way to the October 19, 2000 showings - odd but not impossible as General Cinema locations were a bit peculiar about their closings and lack of publicized or advertised final showings. In 2001, Entertainment Filmworks had a business plan to convert dead General Cinema locations into food/entertainment theaters. They reopened the Meyerland on April 20, 2001 and it operated for one year but found out that folks just wanted modern megaplexes and the EFW concept was DOA. Nova Cinemas was the last player converting the Meyerland Plaza 8 into a second-run, deep discount venue with $1 concessions and sub-run films. Nova bailed in 2003. There were no further takers. The theatre - just eight years old - was bulldozed for another big box retailer.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

RyanToDaF2044 on October 17, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Sadly, I never went to this theatre back in the day, but it looks like one I would have enjoyed.

RyanToDaF2044 on October 18, 2022 at 4:44 pm

In any case, somebody needs to post some pics of this theatre.

rivest266 on March 31, 2024 at 12:24 pm

Reopened by Entertainment Film Works on April 20th, 2001. small ad posted.

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