The Santikos Story

For over 100 years, the Santikos family has produced an unparalleled theater experience. But you won’t find their greatest story listed on the marquee. It lies within the Santikos name, their passion for helping others, and is rooted in San Antonio.

By the age of 19, Louis Santikos had left his home in Athens, Greece for central Texas. In the moments between stocking shelves and bagging canned goods at a local grocery store, Louis noticed something – lines of people waiting outside the Rex Theatre across the street. Realizing the potential, he worked to save whatever he could. And in 1911, Louis purchased that same theater, launching a legacy that would last for generations.

As all moviegoers know, the origin story is only the beginning of the epic journey and over the next few decades, the founder’s son, John L. Santikos, would expand the business into over a dozen locations. By merging leading-edge technology with a comfortable atmosphere, John established Santikos as the premiere theatrical experience in the area.

During his living years, John made significant donations to local organizations and developed consistent partnerships with local arts organizations and charitable groups. But it was in his passing that John’s legacy would truly be realized. John would gift the bulk of his estate to the San Antonio Area Foundation. Now, Santikos Entertainment – and its more than 1,500 employees – functions solely for the benefit of the San Antonio community.

Under the guidance of the Area Foundation, profits from every purchase made at a Santikos location go directly to fund area nonprofits that benefit people in need, education, arts and culture, and medical research.

For 87 years, it was John’s passion for entertaining that built Santikos Entertainment. But it is because of his commitment to giving and the patronage of moviegoers like you that it lives on.

There is nothing like that moment when the lights go down, the sound goes up, and your attention locks on the screen above – except, of course, knowing that just by being there, you’re helping to make San Antonio a better place.

Thank you for helping us write our story. Thank you for being part of the credits.


John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation

The John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, a fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation, was created by John L. Santikos – entrepreneur, real estate developer and movie theater businessman – who died December 30, 2014. Mr. Santikos gifted the bulk of his estate to the San Antonio Area Foundation to establish his legacy, continue the successful operation of his businesses and make significant annual donations beyond his lifetime. Mr. Santikos had a specific and well-planned vision for how the Area Foundation would direct his support. He identified eight Texas counties along with a set of charitable interest areas for the Area Foundation to administer grants.

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