Each season, the Texas Rangers host Bark in the Park, an event that invites both baseball fans and their dogs to experience a game at the ballpark. But what if your pooch is into movies more than sports? There's a new theater in Plano that opened its doggy doors in early December.
K9 Cinemas is the brainchild of Eric Lankford, a serial entrepreneur who recently moved to Dallas from Indianapolis. The 29-year-old says he used to make fun of folks who treated their pets as family, but that changed when Bear, an Australian Eskimo puppy, came into his life in 2017. Shortly after he moved to Texas, Lankford realized he was in good company.
"Moving down here, it's so much more dog friendly," he says. "I tried to book a grooming appointment and it had two-week waiting period. The demand was crazy."
That inspired him to dream up K9 Cinemas, a dog-friendly movie theater that opened near the intersection of Custer Road and 15th Street in Plano. Its first showing was Dec. 7.
K9 Cinemas is not your average theater, and not just because of the clientele. It pops up on select weekends in what's currently a private events space featuring a single projection screen and 50 padded, metal chairs. And the floors are concrete, which makes for an easy clean up if a dog has an accident.
Since it's a semi-permanent venture, the theater doesn't show the latest blockbuster films. Upcoming holiday screenings include Home Alone on Dec. 21 (at 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.) and Elf on Dec. 26 (at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.).
After Christmas, Lankford plans to replace the chairs with couches to offer more a comfortable atmosphere and he expects to be open every weekend starting in January.
"From there, the vision is to be open every day," he says. "If no one shows up, I don't care. I have a theater where Bear and I can go watch movies."
Tickets cost $5 for dogs, $9 for children and $12.50 for adults. Only 25 tickets will be sold to each showing, so that there's ample room for dogs inside the theater, Lankford says. K9 Cinemas sells concessions including drinks, candy and dog treats for $2 each.