Sundance Cinemas – Movies with a Sophisticated Charm

Sundance Cinemas Exterior

Sundance Cinemas Exterior – Photo by Gary Fountain

Like many in Houston, well the yuppies and yuppies-in-training, I ranted and maybe even cried for the closing of The Angelika Film Center. It was here one day, and then gone the next. I figured that I would probably always associate the Summer of 2010 as the summer that film died in Houston, TX. Wallowing in my silly little “I’ll never see an art house film again” depressive state, I found out that Robert Redford’s Sundance Cinemas company was interested in converting the space into one of their own movie theaters. I immediately visited and started to research what I could expect to find when the company opened their doors in Houston.

The week of November 21, 2011 rolled around and those were gloriously flung open with a two day gala. Yeah… I didn’t get to go to the November 21 & 22 event, but I knew about it. However, I have visited the theater four times now, and I am simply in love with the venue. I have never had a bad experience at the theatre and am constantly impressed with the cleanliness, quality of delicious treats and snacks, and the tangible kindness of the utterly professional employees. The first thing visitors notice are the colors of the theatre. The Angelika had a sleek and polished feel, but The Sundance is so warm and welcoming. It has earthy greens, deep browns, and rich reds/reddish-oranges that complement each other very well, creating a welcoming atmosphere that is as much outdoorsy as it is urban chic. I personally like the use of branches that brings nature inside. All of this is made even more impressive by how clean the facility is. Everything is pristinely polished and dusted, the floors always appear freshly swept and vacuumed, and the bathrooms would not upset even the most severe germ-a-phobe.

Sundance Cinema November 2011 Crowd

Lobby at Sundance Cinema Houston – Photo by © Michelle Watson/

The concessions are simply divine. There is a full service bar that offers favorites and drinks inspired by the films currently being shown. For example, for the summer the bartenders created a drink titled The Spider Bite in honor of the blockbuster superhero popcorn flick The Amazing Spider-Man. The bar area also serves sandwiches, pizzas, and deserts. This idea makes it possible to enjoy a light meal and a show all at once, which is really nothing new. Yet, Sundance makes it fantastic by offering quality foods and drinks that patrons will actually enjoy munching on before the show or in the theater itself. Opposite the bar, is the standard fare concession stand, or so it seems. If you know me, you know I HATE POPCORN, but I simply cannot get enough of the popcorn at Sundance Cinemas. It is delightful!!! And they actually use real butter if you want to add a bit more decadence to this delicious treat. They also offer a wide variety of bottled sodas made with real sugar in addition to their fountain drinks, cookies, candies, and delectably scrumptious baked treats that could be featured in magazines or even on the Food Network.

Then there is the ever-friendly and courteous staff. They always are willing to help and are genuinely polite. For example, while waiting to see Prometheus in 3D my wife spilled her popcorn in the hallway outside the theater. An employee saw her trying to clean up her mess and quickly came to her aide with a broom and dustpan. She took over the spill for my wife and never did or said anything that could be off-putting or seen as rude. Instead, she smiled and said, “It’s ok. That was great timing because I can clean that up for you.” On the internet that may read rude, but I assure you the employee was pleasant and warm—about as far from rude as possible.

Seat Selection

Example of Seat Reservation with Ticket Purchase

Yet, the BEST thing may be that when you buy your tickets you reserve your actual seat, like when you visit a live theatre. This is such a brilliant idea, and provides a substantial added bonus to those who purchase tickets ahead of time. Also, for people like me that are picky about where they sit in the theater, I can guarantee I get my preferred seat every time. I simply adore this about Sundance Cinemas.

I am thrilled that Sundance Cinemas is open, and I hope you’ll take the time to pay them a visit. They’ll even validate your Theatre District Parking! They are located in the Bayou Place Building at 510 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77002. To purchase tickets or obtain more information about Sundance Cinemas in Houston please visit


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