AMC Western Park 4

4408 W. Illinois Avenue,
Dallas, TX 75211

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The AMC Western Park 4 was opened November 17, 1971. It was closed by AMC June 30, 1972. The Western Park was quickly reopened by an independent operator as a sub-run Dollar house which lasted for two months. This was one of the least successful of all the theatres in Dallas. The theatre was converted into retail use. As of 2015, it like its Oak Cliff cousin AMC Triangle 4 located five miles away, is a Family Dollar franchise retail store.

Contributed by Ken Roe

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dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on January 31, 2015 at 11:21 am

Western Park is a neighborhood in the Southwest-Redbird area of Oak Cliff established in the early 1960s. The fast-growing AMC Circuit had dropped a bombshell on Dallas called the Northtown 6 that was changing the very nature of film exhibition in the Dallas area as the decade of the 1960s concluded. Following up that theater with its AMC Northwood Hills on the border of fast-growing Richardson, AMC looked to keep the momentum going in the early 1970s. In a curious decision, the chain targeted Oak Cliff for two new nearly-identical four-screen multiplexes announced in January 1971 that would have the same design as the Northwood Hills 4. The goal in Dallas was to operate an additional 42 automated screens with 10,000 seats in 1971, alone.

The AMC Western Park launched at the corner of Illinois Ave. and Cockrell Hill in the Western Park Village shopping center on 17 November 1971. It showed “Murphy’s War,” “The Tender Warrior,” “The Organization,” and “McCabe and Mrs. Miller.” Population shifts were already underway in the ten-year old neighborhood. CEO Stanley Durwood noted the challenging economic climate that the theater faced. He suggested that twilite shows priced under $1 would be what the area needed and that the theater would be run with the efficiency of a military division. But unlike some military operations, Durwood and AMC almost immediately realized that they had hit a buzz saw by opening in Oak Cliff. And unlike some military operations, Durwood and AMC wouldn’t wait long before taking steps to bug out.

Just completing its seventh month in its new build Western Park 4, AMC hastily closed up shop just as the big summer films were coming in. They would put all of their Oak Cliff eggs in the remaining Triangle 4 which had also opened in 1971 just 4.5 miles away. A new operator was identified and ran the Western Park 4 as a sub-run, sub-dollar house. That run was even less successful lasting just two months and the Western Park 4 was closed again. For a new build theater, the Western Park 4 holds the record as the worst performing movie theater in the city’s history. Its cousin, the Triangle 4, didn’t fare much better failing to make it to its third anniversary. It also closed ignominiously in February of 1974. For AMC, these two Oak Cliff theaters were unusual missteps and the theaters were just a blip on its radar as it righted the ship and became a dominate player in Dallas.

As for the two theaters in the mid-2010s, both spaces were converted to retail spaces within their shopping centers. Still standing in 2015, the Triangle 4 at 3939 S. Polk was a Family Dollar franchise retail store. And the Western Park 4 at 4404 W. Illinois was, ironically, also a Family Dollar franchise retail store.

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