The Bijou, San Antonio’s arthouse theater, closes

Santikos opened the Bijou in 1987

Santikos Bijou Theater has closed after 35 years. (Google Street View)

BALCONES HEIGHTS, Texas – The Bijou theater, San Antonio’s arthouse theater, is closing its doors after 35 years.

The theater was located at Wonderland of the Americas in Balcones Heights.

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Andrew Brooks, the executive director of sales and marketing for Santikos, confirmed the closure on Tuesday, saying the closure was due, in part, to the changing art-film dynamic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“‘CODA’ which won Best Movie (at the Oscars) was allowed to play in our theaters for only one week prior to opening on Apple,” Brooks said. “There was a record bidding war between Amazon, Netflix and Apple, and Apple won with a $25 million purchase.”

As art films are exploring new ways to be profitable and gain exposure, it’s not always going to mean that they get shown in traditional theater settings.

“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 said.

Santikos has operated the Bijou since December 1987.

Brooks said while the company is sad to announce its closing, they’re excited about the future of Santikos.

“We’re also pleased to continue serving the Balcones Heights community with our Santikos Northwest Theater, located just across the highway, less than 1 mile away from the Bijou,” Brooks said.

Santikos will continue to support independent filmmakers and art films. Starting this summer, “Bijou Series” art films will be shown across all Santikos theaters.

“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.

Santikos owns and operates 10 theaters in the San Antonio area.

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Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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