“Big is cool,” was the advertising tagline for the AMC Grand 24 when it first opened on Northwest Highway and Interstate 35 in 1995.
The theater was the first “megaplex” in the United States, inspired by a 30-screen theater in Antwerp, Belgium, and it exceeded owners’ expectations by millions.
AMC, a company that originated in Kansas City, Missouri, expected the theater to sell 800,000 tickets the first year, and it wound up selling 3 million, according to a March episode of the podcast 99% Invisible. The one-day ticket sales record was 21,000.
Film critic Roger Ebert toured the theater before it opened and gave it a thumbs up, telling the Dallas Morning News: “I was tremendously impressed with the theater. It has great sightlines from each part of the auditorium.”
The theater had 24 screens, comprised 850,000 square feet and had a a 5-acre parking lot. But what really made it revolutionary was stadium seating, the podcast says.
The Grand’s success ushered in a nationwide trend of multiplexes that also fostered a golden era of independent films that peaked in 1999, with films as weird as Being John Malkovich screening in hundreds of cities and suburbs across the country, the podcast points out.
The AMC Grand closed in 2010, and Studio Movie Grill remodeled and took it over from 2013-2021.
Now the founder of that company, Dallas resident Brian Schultz, reopened the theater again recently as Look Dine-In Cinemas, “a technology-first luxury cinema experience.”
The new Look theater on Northwest Highway has 14 screens and a focus on high-quality sound and full-service dining with a menu of cocktails, sushi, pizza and burgers.