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Bye-bye, Bijou | Santikos' northwest movie theater "now closed"

"Pour one out for the Bijou. We had some great fun there!" Texas Public Radio (TPR) Cinema posted on Facebook with a picture of the closed sign on the door.

SAN ANTONIO — Editor's note: The video above is from a story in November about Santikos' Cibolo location.

A literal sign of the challenging economic times has San Antonio saying goodbye to a well-loved movie theater known for showing foreign films and independent movies. A sign that says "Santikos Bijou now closed" is on the door leading to the northwest side location inside the Wonderland of Americas mall.

"While the Bijou location may be closed, its allure will live on, as Santikos will be starting the "Bijou Series" later this summer. To support our independent filmmakers and art films, the "Bijou Series" art films will be shown across all our Santikos theaters, exposing even more of our community to incredible talent around the world," Andrew Brooks, Santikos Entertainment's Executive Director of Sales and Marketing, said. "These are exciting times for Santikos, we opened two new theaters this year, Santikos New Braunfels and Santikos Westlakes, we just finished a remodel of our IMAX auditorium at Palladium, we have plans to announce future developments and remodels later this year, and we remain the most financially sound theater operator in the country."

Brooks said it’s no secret that independent filmmakers and art films have been hit the hardest during the pandemic, and the art-film dynamic is changing. 

“CODA, which won best movie was allowed to play in our theaters for only one week prior to opening on Apple. There was a record bidding war between Amazon, Netflix and Apple… and Apple won with a $25 million purchase. This is just one example of many as art films try to find a way to be profitable and gain exposure. It’s this changing dynamic of art films, and our lease coming up for renewal that led to the decision to close the Bijou," Brooks told KENS 5.

Santikos Entertainment said the Bijou had "been part of the Santikos family since December 1987." Also, Texas Public Radio (TPR) Cinema, which had hosted its Cinema Tuesdays series there for several years, shared a picture of the sign on Facebook on Monday afternoon, mentioning that Santikos would still be hosting events through the summer.

"Pour one out for the Bijou. We had some great fun there! Cinema Tuesdays will continue at Santikos this summer, but still… Indie films will continue to be booked, as I understand -- the Embassy played many of the Oscar contenders during Awards Season, as did the Palladium," the post said on TPR Cinema's Facebook page. 

Pour one out for the Bijou. We had some great fun there! Cinema Tuesdays will continue at Santikos this summer, but...

Posted by TPR Cinema on Monday, April 4, 2022

The posted sign asks moviegoers to, "Please visit us across the road at Santikos Northwest or another location." Santikos' closest location is a 1.5-mile drive away, on the northwest corner of the intersection of Loop 410 and I-10, south of Callaghan Road.

"While we're sad to announce its closing, we're excited for the future of Santikos. We're also pleased to continue serving the Balcones Heights community with our Santikos Northwest Theater," Brooks said.

Natalie G. Taylor commented on the post, expressing her feelings about the closure.

"This breaks my heart. The Bijou was my absolute favorite theater," she wrote.

Roger Castillo expressed some hope that perhaps things could change.

"It simply boggles the mind, and has for so many years, that a city this size wouldn't or couldn't support a place like this. Thanks to everyone that did. Maybe it'll re-open," he commented.

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