Market Street Cinema owner Matt Smith told the Times today that they will be closing their current location and reopening at Riverdale 10, the 10-screen, 35,000 square ft. theater on Cantrell Road that closed in December. “The big change that the customers will see is we’re going to be installing new Barco digital projectors and Dolby digital sound,” he said over the phone this morning (before, both theaters used 35mm film and analog sound). The move will also affect the theater’s programming, with some of the screens devoted to “first-run, Hollywood commercial films that are playing at other places,” and a certain percentage focused on “independent, foreign, documentary and art films, like we did at Market Street.” Smith hopes to have “some” screens open by Friday, June 6, and the full theater open by the following Friday, June 13. Market Street gift cards and passes will be honored at the new location (which will still be called Riverdale 10 for the time being).
Smith also says they’ll be building stages and plan to host monthly stand-up comedy and live music events. The Classic Movie Series, presented by 96.5’s Dave Elswick, will continue, and the theater will apply for a beer and wine license “once things get up and running.” They’ll open with “standard” movie theater concessions, but plan to expand the menu if the license goes through. Smith hopes to later reopen the Market Street location refurbished as a second-run, “dollar discount theater.”
“We have always championed independent, foreign, art and documentary films,” Smith says. “Let’s not forget that the 48-Hour Film Festival started at the Market Street Cinema. Let’s not forget that the Black Independent Film Festival started at the Market Street Cinema. Let’s not forget that the Reel Civil Rights Film Festival started at the Market Street Cinema. Let’s not forget that the Reel Women Film Festival started at the Market Street Cinema. Let’s not forget that the Arkansas Film Showcase started at the Market Street Cinema. Let’s not forget all that. That stuff originated with Market Street. The original Film Festival happened at Market Street. We were doing that way before anybody else. And that’s what we’ll always continue to do. What we have here is options. We’ll have room to grow.”