Short Cuts

The Arbor gets the axe from Simon Property Group.

Simon Sez, You're Outta Here! Dept.: In what is so far the worst news of the year for Austin filmgoers, the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., owners of the lot on which Regal Cinema's much-loved Arbor 7 currently resides, have opted not to renew the theatre's longstanding lease and have demanded that Regal vacate the premises by March 31. A call to Regal netted a terse "no comment," but Billie Scott, SPG's director of public relations, offered that the rumor was true, although no reason for the closure could be given at this time. When we mentioned that shutting down one of Austin's most popular theatres for an unexplained reason might make Simon resemble the Snidely Whiplash of bloated property groups, Scott offered that "isn't there like a 16-screen theatre less than a mile away?" Apparently SPG, the largest publicly traded retail real estate company in North America (with a total market capitalization Jan. 31, 2002, of approximately $19 billion), isn't aware of how much Austinites cherish their theatres -- especially when the theatre in question is one of only two venues in town to specialize in arthouse films. "Regal Cinemas has been in bankruptcy," added Scott, "and we did have the right to recapture that space, which is what we have done. We will be replacing them with another destination venue which I can't divulge at this time." According to a Regal source, the chain is eyeing the former location of the nearby Great Hills 8 theatre for a possible move, but this is as yet unconfirmed by the Regal mothership. More on this as the info dribbles in... SXSW Film 2002 is kicking into high gear screening-wise: New additions include Jesse Peretz's DV-shot The Chateau starring Paul Rudd; Home Movie, the latest from Chris Smith (American Movie); and the directorial debut from Roman Coppola (Francis Ford scion), CQ. For more on music-related films screening at SXSW, like The Last Waltz (with Robbie Robertson in attendance), see "Dancing About Architecture," p.45. Now go buy those badges, people!

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Simon Property Group, Inc., Regal Cinema, Arbor 7, Billie Scott, Great Hills 8, SXSW Film, Jesse Peretz's, The Chateau, Paul Rudd, Home Movie, Chris Smith, American Movie, Roman Coppola, CQ, The Last Waltz, Robbie Robertson

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