Sony Pictures Entertainment Acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired theatrical exhibitor Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

SPE acquired Alamo Drafthouse from owners Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and founder Tim League.

The company will be managed within SPE under a newly established division, Sony Pictures Experiences. 

Alamo Drafthouse’s Michael Kustermann will remain CEO of the pioneering dine-in movie theater chain and head Sony Pictures Experiences, reporting to Ravi Ahuja, president and chief operating officer of SPE. Alamo Drafthouse will continue to operate all 35 of its cinemas across 25 metro areas under the Alamo Drafthouse brand. Alamo Drafthouse-owned Fantastic Fest, the genre film festival, is included in the acquisition and will also continue to be operated by Alamo Drafthouse. The company’s headquarters will remain in Austin.

“We believe strongly in engaging entertainment fans outside the home in fun and distinctive ways as seen most recently with our Wheel of Fortune LIVE! traveling tour, and the opening of Wonderverse in Chicago,” Ahuja said in a statement. “Alamo Drafthouse’s differentiated movie-going experience, admired brand and devoted community fit well with this vision.  Our Crunchyroll business also aligns well with their audience’s interests. We look forward to building upon the innovations that have made Alamo Drafthouse successful and will, of course, continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors.” 

Alamo Drafthouse was founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin and has grown into a dine-in cinema chain. As North America’s seventh largest theater chain, it releases more movies per year than any other theater chain, welcomes more than 10 million guests annually, and has built a highly engaged core audience of 4 million loyalty members, according to the press release. Last year, the theater chain saw a 30% jump in box office revenue from the previous year, which came in ahead of the industry at large.

“We are beyond thrilled to join forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment to expand our company vision to be the best damn cinema that has ever, or will ever, exist now in ways we could only ever dream of,” Tim League, founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, said in a statement. “They have a deep respect and understanding of cinema’s ability to both drive growth and create lasting cultural impact which aligns perfectly with everything Alamo Drafthouse stands for.”

“Alamo Drafthouse has always held the craft of filmmaking and the theatrical experience in high esteem, which are fundamental shared values between our companies. I’m jazzed that our company is doing this,” Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, said in a statement.

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“We are excited to make history with Sony Pictures Entertainment and have found the right home and partner for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema,” Michael Kustermann, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, said in a statement. “We were created by film lovers for film lovers. We know how important this is to Sony, and it serves as further evidence of their commitment to the theatrical experience. Together we will continue to innovate and bring exciting new opportunities for our teammates and moviegoers alike.”

Alamo On Demand to Stream ‘Fast and Furious’ Movie Marathon June 19

Alamo On Demand, the streaming video service owned and operated by indie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, is offering a 24-hour “Fast & Furious” movie marathon, beginning June 19 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

Interested parties must create an account at to stream the “Fast and Furious Forever Marathon,” which includes the first eight movies, the spinoff Hobbs & Shaw and F9 director Justin Lin’s 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow.

Streamers can also purchase the first eight movies digitally for $48.99 through Alamo On Demand, while individual title rentals cost $3.99 each for a 48-hour window.

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Alamo is offering a sweepstakes to streamer’s of the 24-hour marathon, whose winners will receive select “Fast Saga” merchandise from Universal Pictures.

Universal is debuting F9: The Fast Saga in U.S. theaters on June 25. The movie has already grossed nearly $300 million in foreign markets.


Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Emerges From Bankruptcy, Completes Sale to Private Equity Group

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a chain of indie movie theaters based in Austin, Texas, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy after securing a sale to private equity group Altamont Capital Partners.

Alamo, which operates 40 theaters across the country, had been a victim of the pandemic that decimated the movie theater business. The chain’s three Arizona screens filed for bankruptcy last May.

Founder Tim League helped complete the transaction and is now executive chairman, while Shelli Taylor, previously CEO of Austin-based United PF Partners, a conglomerate of Planet Fitness franchisees, runs the chain as chief executive officer.

“We’re so thrilled to be reopening theaters across the country and welcoming back audiences for an unparalleled moviegoing experience with films we’ve been eagerly awaiting for over a year now,” Taylor said in a statement. “It’s incredibly exciting to be back on that path so we can bring the Alamo Drafthouse experience to new locations around the country, including our very first locations in Manhattan, St. Louis and D.C.”

The re-opening follows the strongest domestic box office since the pandemic began, with the four-day Memorial Day box office topping $100 million.

Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater Chain Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Alamo Drafthouse, a chain of indie movie theaters based in Austin, Texas, has reportedly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy — a victim of the ongoing pandemic that has decimated the movie theater business. The chain’s three Arizona screens filed for bankruptcy last May.

Alamo, which operates 40 theaters across the country, will remain operational as the filing attempts to restructure the company’s finances and operational control. Founder Tim League is fronting a new financial group and will become executive chairman, while Shelli Taylor becomes CEO. Taylor previously was CEO of Austin-based United PF Partners, a conglomerate of Planet Fitness franchisees.

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Shelli Taylor

“Alamo Drafthouse had one of its most successful years in the company’s history in 2019 with the launch of its first Los Angeles theater and box office revenue that outperformed the rest of the industry,” Taylor said in a statement. “We’re excited to work with our partners at Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group to continue on that path of growth on the other side of the pandemic, and we want to ensure the public that we expect no disruption to our business and no impact on franchise operations, employees and customers in our locations that are currently operating.”

League said the increase in vaccination availability, slate of new movie releases, and pent-up consumer demand portend a strong rebound for the exhibition business.

“We’re extremely confident that by the end of 2021, the cinema industry — and our theaters specifically — will be thriving,” he said. “That said, these are difficult times and during this bankruptcy we will have to make difficult decisions about our lease portfolio. We are hopeful that our landlord and other vendor partners will work with us to help ensure a successful emergence from bankruptcy and viable future business.”

Arcade Game Doc ‘Insert Coin’ Available on Alamo Drafthouse on Demand Nov. 25

Cargo Film & Releasing’s arcade game documentary Insert Coin will be released on Alamo Drafthouse on Demand Nov. 25.

The film is the behind-the-scenes story of video game studio Midway Games. Led by the “Godfather of Video Games” Eugene Jarvis, the company pioneered the concept of live-action gaming, kickstarting a new arcade boom and grossing billions of dollars in the process with massive hits such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam.

​Through intimate and often hilarious interviews with the people who were there, the film chronicles how a small, tight-knit group of friends faced next level success and the roller coaster ride that came with it.

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“It is truly my love letter to the early days of Midway and how it influenced the transition from classic coin-operated games to ushering in a new generation of console gaming,” said Insert Coin director Joshua Tsui.

Alamo Drafthouse Renting Entire Theaters for $150

As the movie theater industry continues to suffer during the pandemic, Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse is allowing customers to rent out entire theaters for $150.

Renters must buy tickets (or have friends and family buy them) and buy a minimum of $150 in food and drinks (no outside food).

Renters must pick from a list of movies that include new releases, such as Tenet (at select theaters), and older movies such as Jurassic Park, The Matrix and Wonder Woman.

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“When we began rolling out Your Own Private Alamo in select Alamo Drafthouse locations in August, we had no idea what the response would be,” reads the Alamo website. “It was big. Really big. In just the past few weeks we’ve hosted over 700 groups of families and coworkers at just a handful of theaters. And now we’re excited to expand to even more locations and, for the first time, open up the ability to book new release titles like Christopher Nolan’s epic Tenet.”

MVD Bows Exploitation Film ‘Lady Street Fighter’ on Blu-ray Aug. 14

Alamo Drafthouse’s American Genre Film Archive and MVD Entertainment Group will release the exploitation film Lady Street Fighter on Blu-ray Aug. 14.

Written and produced by exploitation star Renee Harmon and directed by James Bryan, it’s the story of Linda (Harmon), a tough-as-nails karate cop on the trail of the ruthless scumbags who murdered her twin sister. Lady Street Fighter also features a special appearance by Trace Carradine.

Special features include a commentary track with director James Bryan and the AGFA team; street fightin’ trailers from the AGFA vaults; liner notes by Annie Choi of Bleeding Skull; a bonus movie, Revenge of Lady Street Fighter (1990), the unreleased sequel; and reversible cover art.