Waco Hippodrome now showing classical films

The Waco Hippodrome Theater is shifting gears. It is shifting from mainly running first run films to more of a classic theater and eatery. Trey Honeycutt | Lariat Photographer

It was reported in the Waco Tribune-Herald, Monday, that the famous Waco Hippodrome Theatre will no longer mainly show first run films.

It has been decided by Kirk Richard, the general manager, and his team to continue to show some first run movies, but they have decided the proper business technique would be to do what they are best at: being a classic theater and eatery.

“We are doing first run movie and we won’t stop, but we…we want to be more selective on which first run movies we choose to show,” said Richard.

The break-away has been done in order to avoid the problem of first-run movie contracts. The theatre is required to show the films after signing the contract weeks after its release date whether or not the movie is successful. Therefore, ticket sales, concession sales and merchandise sales all suffer.

Since the theatre is limited to having only two screens to show movies on, the theatre has decided to be just that more selective in order to stand out.

“We are working to match our demographic and we do well with classic movies and the Dueling Pianos shows,” said Richard.

It hasn’t been until recently, however, that the famous movie theatre has decided to do away with allowing first run movies to be the focus of the efforts. Instead, they hope to merely continue showcasing the classic atmosphere by showing iconic and ageless films primarily with recently released movies being sprinkled in the mix.

Not only have Baylor students and members of the Waco community been able to go see timeless classic movies in the old theatre, but they have been able to snag a meal while doing so since it doubles as a Central Texas draft house.

The Waco Hippodrome has been used for several events around campus and lends its facility to events such as dueling pianos and is the place to see many classic films, and is often used for Baylor football game watch parties and more

Baylor’s Greek fraternities and sororities have also relied on the Hippodrome to host take-a-dates and semi-formals for years now.

According to The Hippodrome Theatre website, the building was constructed in 1913 after Thomas P. Finnegan and the mayor J.P. Harrison and a group of businessmen from Waco urged for a theatre downtown.

February 7, 1914 was the opening night for the Waco Hippodrome and it featured a live seal act, a five-piece orchestra and a magic act on the bill. The Hippodrome has always been a place for movies and local talent shows and events, and looks to continue their legacy.