Dozens protested permanent closure of historic River Oaks theatre

Is the icon here to stay? Talks between the theater's parent company and its landlord are in the works.

Video Transcript

STEFANIA OKOLIE: Tom, good evening. Since 1939, the historic landmark the River Oaks Theatre has been situated right in the heart of River Oaks. It brings you a variety of films, like vintage films to films from local filmmakers right here in Houston.

But perhaps the most memorable and most famous is "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." This is the only place in Houston, the longest running theater that offers the show every Saturday. Dozens on the street here today, they don't want to see this theater go.

- This is our home.

[CAR HORN HONKING]

[CHEERING]

We're with "The Rocky Horror Show." We need this place to keep doing our show.

- And I've been going to "Rocky" since I was 13. Now I'm 18 and I just don't want this place to get shut down.

- I've been coming to the River Oaks Theater since the '70s.

JEFF SMITH: We were closed for six months due to the pandemic with no revenue and we had some rent issues. And we want to renew our lease and we want to work with Weingarten in any way we can, but they have not been willing to negotiate with us thus far.

- If we don't speak up for them now, then they're just going to be taken away without any rapport.

- I think for a long time Houston tried to find its footing in the art world. I think taking this away is just going to take more of that out of Houston.

- My daughter came here when she was two years old. She's now 50 years old.

- This is the only place you can see vintage films in Houston. And most of the time, people don't even realize how important things like this are until they're gone.

- We keep taking down our history and our landmarks. What are we going to have left?

- You take away the Landmark, you take away so much of Houston's heart.

- It's got to be saved.

STEFANIA OKOLIE: And Tom, I did reach out to Weingarten Realty, who's over this building. They did not get back to me.

Reporting live this evening from River Oaks, I'm Stefania Okolie, ABC13 Eyewitness News.