FunAsia Richardson

1210 E. Belt Line Road,
Richardson, TX 75081

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This theater originally opened in 1989 as General Cinema’s Richardson 6. It was located down the street from the Richardson Square Mall, which also had a small multiplex. The theater closed in 2000 when General Cinema went out of business.

A few years later, the theater was converted into a 3-plex showing Indian Bollywood films. It also now also features an Indian restaurant.

Contributed by Bruce Calvert

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on March 24, 2015 at 8:14 am

FunAsiA Richardson is a theater/restaurant/dance hall/event center catering to the Southeast Asian population in the northeastern portion of the Dallas suburb. The operators transformed a moribund six-screen theater which had been open just nine years (1989-1998) into a vibrant cultural destination that proved to be a success beginning in late 2002 and running into the mid-2010s as of this writing. The three-screen theater played contemporary Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, and some English language films while the FunAsiA hosted events ranging from live concerts, beauty pageants, cricket viewing, weddings, and parties.

Backing up to August of 1988, General Cinema Corp. (GCC) signed a lease for a 25,442-square-foot six-screen movie theater across the street from the Richardson Square Mall where it had been operating an aging three-screen theater since October of 1977 . The new six-plex would be loosely patterned after a Town East GCC Theater and fairly similar to the Collin Creek Mall theater to the northwest in Plano. The theater launched on October 6, 1989 with “Turner & Hooch”, “An Innocent Man,” “Night Game,” “In Country,” “Batman,” and “Dead Poet’s Society.”

The Richardson 6 did have at least one thing going for it: as one newspaper critic said, the theaters were an improvement over the Richardson Square Mall Cinema triplex but “almost anything would be.” And the theater was the “A” house while the Richardson Square Mall III became the subrun discount house trying to get to the end of its 20-year lease. The mall cinema came close closing in April of 1995. With all of the movie traffic across the street and more buildings sandwiched in, parking became tight for the Richardson. GCC was able to have overflow parking at neighboring Mervyn’s Department Store with signage directing folks there.

The Richardson was chugging along even after a rash of GCC closings in 1998. But Black Thursday hit on October 5, 2000 – just one day shy of the theater’s ninth anniversary. GCC closed all three remaining Tarrant Country locations with the Arlington Square 8, Central Park 8, and Ridgmar and kept three of four Dallas County locations operating. Unfortunately, drawing the short straw was the GCC Richardson 6. With no new product or advertising, the closing was not unexpected and all shows after 5:00p cancelled that final evening for a quick-as-possible closing. Features were removed from the attraction board even before the showtimes of the final showings of “Almost Famous,” Chicken Run,” and four other films were scheduled to play.

The remaining DFW GCC theaters getting an endorsement and staying open were the GCC Galleria, Furneaux Creek and Irving Mall. Two weeks later, only the Irving Mall remained open as GCC was on life support in DFW. But good news was ahead for the GCC Richardson. With a growing Southern Asian population in the area, FunAsiA took on the theater and with a $1.6 million overhaul, turned the three theaters on the building’s west side to show new releases from Bollywood and had video capabilities for special events and weddings. The other three theaters were turned into an Indian dance club called Ghungroo and restaurant as well as space/banquet hall for weddings and special events opening in December of 2002. So popular was FunAsiA that it opened a second location in Irving and another in Houston. The Irving operation would be consolidated to film offerings moving to a couple of screens at the Macarthur Marketplace but the original Richardson FunAsiA was still going strong into the mid-2010s with expansive food offerings.

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