As a nonprofit, art-house movie theater, Circle Cinema screens documentaries, independent films, and foreign films in an effort to deepen Tulsa’s understanding and appreciation of the diverse human experience. The theater first opened its doors in 1928 and, as the city's only pre-1960s theater, it has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to providing shelter from screaming clouds, the theater fosters progressive forward thinking with a host of intellectually stimulating films. Screenings have included The Artist, which won the Academy Award for Best Film in 2012, as well as Revenge of the Electric Car, a documentary focused on auto manufacturers' race to perfect electric transportation. Circle Cinema also hosts premieres of locally produced films and films created by aspiring directors in high school and college courses.
Select Cinemas, the proprietors of RiverWalk Movies, believe that suburban moviegoers shouldn't have to go out of their way to catch Hollywood's latest offerings. They also believe that movie theaters can boost neighboring businesses, which is why everybody wins when they integrate themselves into communities. But movies matter most, and RiverWalk Movies has an edge on urban multiplexes. All eight of their screens are wall-to-wall. All auditoriums feature stadium, rocking-chair-style seating, which prevents neck craning when sitting behind Bigfoot, and digital surround sound fit for humans with 10 ears. RiverWalk also prides itself on its concessions, especially the popcorn, and offers free shows to satiate kids during summer vacations.
At Showplex Cinemas, it’s the same scene every night. The lights dim, and the crowd quickly falls silent. After some song-and-dance from the concession stand and a few thrilling trailers, main attractions from Hollywood’s biggest movie makers flicker to life on screen. Thanks to Showplex’s screening systems, moviegoers in five states share in this immersive entertainment tradition, which is as American as the hot dogs they sell in the lobby. Recently under the new management of Starplex Cinemas, Showplex has lowered ticket prices and added more items to the concessions lineup. The theaters’ Facebook page increases the community aspect, helping moviegoers stay abreast of the newest releases as well as flashback screenings of classic flicks.
The façade of Eton Square 6 evokes the decade when it was founded, but the cinematic spectacles playing on each screen couldn't be more of-the-moment. Founded in the mid-'80s, a retro white-and-green triangle still towers above the theater's yellow sign while movie posters depict new releases and an essay on the future of “Back to the Future.”