Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

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Original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Downtown Austin.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is an American cinema chain founded in 1997 in Austin, Texas, USA that is famous for its strict policy of requiring its audiences to maintain proper cinemagoing etiquette. It has screens in eleven locations across Texas in addition to locations in Winchester, Virginia; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Kansas City; Littleton, Colorado; and Ashburn, Virginia,[1] with others to be built in Los Angeles,[2] San Francisco; New York City; Yonkers, New York;[3] and La Vista, Nebraska.[4] Its headquarters is located in Austin.[5]

History[edit]

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded by Tim and Karrie League at 409 Colorado St, in an Austin, Texas warehouse-district building that was being used as a parking garage. The company began as a second-run movie theater, and distinguished itself by the food and drink service offered inside the theater, including cold beers. The seating is arranged with rows of cabaret style tables in front of each row of seats, with an aisle between each row to accommodate waiter service. Customers write their orders on slips of paper, which are picked up by black-clad waiters. Soon after opening, the original downtown theater began offering occasional unique programming such as silent movies scored by local bands playing live accompaniment, food-themed films such as Like Water for Chocolate served with a dinner matching the meals shown on screen, and retrospectives of various directors and stars.[citation needed]

In 2001, the Leagues renovated a four-screen art-house theater at 2700 Anderson Lane in North Austin, called Village Cinema, which had recently closed, and opened it as an Alamo Drafthouse which specialized in first-run movies. With this new Alamo Drafthouse Village, the downtown location ceased showing second-run movies and began to concentrate almost exclusively on unusual programming including classics, cult classics, independents, documentaries, special guest appearances, and audience participation shows.[citation needed]

In 2003, the Alamo Drafthouse, under the direction of new CEO Terrell Braly, moved even further north, to 13729 Research Blvd in far northwest Austin. The Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek had seven screens, all dedicated to new movies. Almost simultaneously, the Alamo granted their first franchise, which opened in the West Oaks Mall in Houston, Texas. In 2013, the Lake Creek location was closed upon the opening of the brand new, larger, Lakeline location.[citation needed]

Company sold[edit]

ParkNorth Mall, Uptown San Antonio, Texas

In July 2004, Tim and Karrie League sold the brand, including the brand name, intellectual property and rights to all future Alamo Drafthouse expansion to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas CEO Terrell Braly, John Martin and David Kennedy, but retained an irrevocable license for the Austin locations (Village, Lamar, Downtown), which includes their Rolling Roadshow.[6] In May 2003, Travis Doss opened the first Alamo franchise location (West Oaks Mall) in Houston, Texas with six screens. In August 2004, the largest Alamo (Westlakes) opened in San Antonio, Texas with nine screens. Since February 2005, the new company has purchased the original franchise unit from Doss, opened a theater in the Katy Area and in Spring, Texas and has built a new-build multi-screen theater in the Rio Grande Valley; though it was announced in 2006 and scheduled to open in 2008, the building has remained unfinished since the original owner was foreclosed upon in November 2008.[7] A second San Antonio theater opened in 2009 (Park North), with six screens.[8] A third San Antonio location (Stone Oak) opened November 5, 2010, with six screens. In 2009, the first outside of Texas was opened in Winchester, Virginia.[9]

In June 2010, founder Tim League was brought back in as CEO of the franchise operations.[10]

Locations[edit]

California
Colorado
Michigan
Missouri
  • Mainstreet Theatre - Kansas City (6 screens; taking over operations from AMC Theatres June 21, 2012)
New York
  • Alamo Drafthouse at the Metro - New York City (5 screens, project postponed or canceled as of October 2013) [14]
  • Alamo Drafthouse Yonkers- Yonkers, NY (6 screens; opened August 5, 2013) [15]
  • Alamo Drafthouse City Point - Brooklyn, NY (7 screens, under construction for a 2015 opening) [16]
Texas
  • Alamo Drafthouse Downtown – Austin (single screen; opened 1997, closed 2007 to move to Ritz location)
  • Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz – Austin (2 screens; opened November 2007)
  • Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar – Austin (6 screens; opened March 7, 2005, closed January 3, 2013 as the 1950s era Lamar Plaza shopping center is demolished and rebuilt. Planned reopening in third quarter of 2013 in new building with 9 screens on the same site.[17] )
  • Alamo Drafthouse Village – Austin (4 screens; opened July 2001)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline – Austin (10 screens; opened July 2013)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek – Austin (7 screens; opened May 2003; closed July 2013)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Montecillo Town Center - El Paso (under construction, opening 2014)
  • Alamo Drafthouse West Oaks MallHouston (6 screens; opened May 2003-closed June 25, 2012)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Vintage Park - Spring (7 screens; opened February 2013)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park – Katy Area (7 screens; opened February 2006)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Lubbock - Lubbock (8 screens; opened April 25, 2014) [18]
  • Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes – San Antonio (9 screens; opened August 2004)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Richardson - Richardson (7 screens; opened August 2013) [19]
  • Alamo Drafthouse Park North - San Antonio (6 screens; opened November 2009)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Stone Oak - San Antonio (6 screens; opened on or after November 5, 2010)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane - Austin (8 screens; opened on March 8, 2012)
  • Alamo Drafthouse The Cedars - Dallas (8 screens; opening 2015)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Las Colinas - Las Colinas (opening 2016)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Laredo - Laredo (opening 2015)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow - Mobile unit operates worldwide
Virginia

In August 2005, Entertainment Weekly named the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema "The #1 movie theater in the country doing it right".[20]

Downtown theater[edit]

Of the first seven theaters, the downtown theater was unique for being the host of many important film events in Austin, such as the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival and Harry Knowles's annual Butt-numb-a-thon.

In 2006, due to rising rent in Downtown Austin, theater owners took steps to hand the theater over to a non-profit group called the "Heroes of the Alamo" foundation, operating the theater as a cultural arts center. However, with the historic Ritz Theater on 6th Street offered as an alternative location, the original Alamo was closed. The final event at the original location consisted of a special triple-feature event the evening of June 27, 2007. The final movie shown was Night Warning, with star Susan Tyrrell attending. At the conclusion of the movie, audience members were allowed to disassemble their seats and take them home as mementos of the theater.

After six months of construction, the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz opened on November 2, 2007 with a triple feature of Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, with a five course mushroom feast; a sneak preview of No Country For Old Men; and a Terror Thursday screening of War of the Gargantuas, introduced by Quentin Tarantino who flew out from Los Angeles for the night to attend the opening.

Etiquette[edit]

Alamo Drafthouse is famous for enforcing a strict policy on behavior while in the theater. Children under the age of six are not allowed, nor are unaccompanied minors. The cinema also prohibits talking and texting during the film. Anyone who violates this policy is subject to warning and potential removal from the premises.[21] Alamo made national headlines in 2011 when the rantings of one angry customer who was ejected for texting were included in its "Don't Talk or Text" PSA shown before films. "When we adopted our strict no talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to alienate some of our patrons," Tim League posted on the cinema's website. "That was the plan. If you can't change your behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don't want you at our venue."[22]

Events[edit]

Austin: every year in September, the Alamo South Lamar location throws a week long film festival called Fantastic Fest dedicated to the horror, sci-fi, fantasy, Asian and "cult" film genres; Alamo Lake Creek holds the annual Zombie Film Festival (Dismember the Alamo) and the Off-centered Film Festival; The Ritz and South Lamar locations also participate in the SXSW Film Festival in March.

Other events include:

  • Action Pack - patrons are armed with cap guns in order to shoot at the screen during fun action films (often in-house pyrotechnics are performed as well)
  • Austin Air Guitar - each competitor has 60 seconds to perform air guitar to a song of one's own choosing
  • Austin Air Sex - same as the above except for sexual acts[23]
  • Big Screen Classics - classic movies shown on a Cinemascope screen
  • Butt-Numb-A-Thon ("BNAT"), an annual 24-hour film marathon in honor of Harry Knowles's birthday.
  • Celebrity Guests - special event where a famed film industry person or star speaks
  • Cinema Cocktails - bar service with at-seat waitered service during movies at the Ritz location
  • The Dionysium - monthly arts variety show including debate panels, lectures, forums, and socializing[24][25]
  • Fantastic Fest - annual genre film festival (third week of September since 2005) at the South Lamar location
  • Filmmaking Frenzy - ongoing filmmaking competition with annual awards
  • Food & Film Events - special meal service for certain movies
  • Foleyvision - films which replace original audio with live commentary; formerly "Buzz Moran's Kung Fu Masterpiece Theater"
  • Kid's Club - free children's movie screenings last Saturday each month
  • Master Pancake Theater - live movie mockery; a panel of comedians mock a movie as it is shown with live comedy voice-overs, real-time commentary, and some pre-selected movie editing; a successor to the former special event "Christmas Show";[26] content frequently Rated R. Previously called "Mister Sinus Theater", until a cease and desist court order filed by Best Brains, holder of the Mystery Science Theater copyright, brought about the name-change.
  • Mondo Mystery Movie - infrequent event where the movie is unknown until it's played. Typically admission includes a poster.
  • Music Monday - weekly Monday music-related film showing
  • Open Screen Night - weekly; patrons show their own videos
  • Quote-Alongs - patrons can sing, quote, and perform along with a movie, typically a cult film
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show - weekly live performance tribute to the movie of the same name
  • Rolling Roadshow Tour - somewhat annual 35mm movie screenings of famous movies in famous film-related locations across the United States
  • Sing-Alongs - patrons sing along to musical films or a collection of music videos
  • Terror Tuesdays - weekly horror movie showing
  • Weird Wednesday - weekly eclectic movie showing for $1 at midnight

Rolling roadshow[edit]

The original Alamo Drafthouse team hosts 35mm screenings of famous movies in famous places all over the world with their traveling portable projection system and a blow-up screen. Past events include: Fistful of Dollars at Cortijo el Sotillo, Spain, A Christmas Story in Cleveland, OH, The Lost Boys in Santa Cruz, CA, It Came From Outer Space 3D in Roswell, NM, The Goonies in Astoria, OR, Close Encounters of the Third Kind at Devil's Tower, WY, The Warriors in Coney Island, NY, Clerks in Red Bank, NJ, Jaws at Martha's Vineyard, MA, Field of Dreams at the Field of Dreams, IA, The Shining at the Stanley Hotel, CO, Poseidon Adventure on the Queen Mary, CA, Escape from Alcatraz on Alcatraz, CA just to name a few.

Drafthouse Films[edit]

In 2010, Tim League founded Drafthouse Films, a film distribution company based out of Austin, Texas which releases "provocative, visionary and artfully unusual films new and old from around the world". Drafthouse Films has released twenty-six films since its inception. Its third release, Bullhead, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Its fourteenth release, The Act of Killing, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Releases[edit]

Upcoming releases[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alamo Drafthouse expands to D.C.." Bizjournals.com Retrieved on April 5, 2012.
  2. ^ Verrier, Richard (April 10, 2013). "Alamo Drafthouse expected to open multiplex theater in downtown L.A". Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ "Alamo Drafthouse to Fill Rave Cityplace 14 Space in Downtown Kalamazoo by Mid-Year, Officials Say." mlive.com Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  4. ^ "Coming to La Vista: a movie theater, bar and restaurant - all in one." omaha.com Retrieved on June 23, 2014.
  5. ^ "Overview Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas." All Business. Retrieved on April 4, 2010.
  6. ^ 42ND STREET FOREVER VOLUME 5: ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE EDITION (DVD Review)
  7. ^ Sean Gaffney. "Alamo Drafthouse expected to be sold, completed," The Monitor (McAllen, Texas), May 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
  8. ^ Bailey, W. Scott; Silva, Tricia Lynn (April 27, 2007). "'No-man's land' reels in a new era of entertainment". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved December 2, 2007. 
  9. ^ Staff Reports (April 11, 2008). "Alamo Drafthouse goes east". Austin American Statesman. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008. 
  10. ^ Mark Savlov (June 4, 2008). "Reunited". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 4, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Alamo Drafthouse Details Plans to Restore San Francisco's New Mission Theater; Founder Tim League Explains the Company's Origins | /Film". /Film. February 16, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2012. 
  12. ^ http://drafthouse.com/denver/littleton
  13. ^ http://drafthouse.com/kalamazoo/kalamazoo/kalamazoo_info/
  14. ^ Han, Angie (October 1, 2013). "Alamo Drafthouse Scraps Plans For Manhattan Location". /Film. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Yonkers Movie Theater". Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ Borders, Meredith (December 3, 2012). "The Drafthouse Announces A Third Location In New York!". Drafthouse.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  17. ^ Dinges, Gary (November 3, 2012). "End is near for Lamar Plaza". Statesman.com. Cox Media Group. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Alamo Draft House sets opening date in Lubbock, staff to get preview". Lubbock Avalanche Journal (Lubbock Online). April 15, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Alamo Drafthouse Now Playing in Richardson". Dallas.eater.com. August 9, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ Cruz, Gilbert (August 5, 2005). "10 Theaters doing it right". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 29, 2007. 
  21. ^ League, Tim (2011-06-10). "Alamo Drafthouse: Them's the rules". CNN. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  22. ^ She texted. We kicked her out.
  23. ^ Smith, Drew (June 14, 2007). "Don't knock it 'til you've mimed it". Austin, Texas. Archived from the original on March 8, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  24. ^ Brenner, Wayne Alan (August 27, 2004). "That Thinking Feeling: L.B. Deyo and Buzz Moran's Dionysium puts the fun back in cogitation". Austin, Texas: The Austin Chronicle. 
  25. ^ Ash, Elliott Thomas (June 9, 2005). "Group holds first debate: Dionysium promotes intellectual discussion in social atmosphere". Austin, Texas: The Daily Texan. Retrieved July 17, 2009. [dead link]
  26. ^ Williams, Danna (November 25, 2008). "Master Pancake Theater: The Alamo's professional cut-ups get set to heckle the halls". Austin, Texas: The Onion. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  27. ^ Jeremy Kay (2013-08-22). "Drafthouse Films to play in Hell". Screendaily. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  28. ^ Nigel M. Smith (2013-09-26). "Drafthouse Films Acquires Hittoshi Matsumoto's Ratings Satire 'R100' For North America". IndieWire. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  29. ^ Jen Yamato (2014-03-31). "Drafthouse Nabs Sundance Award Winning Docu 'The Overnighters'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  30. ^ Elsa Keslassy (2014-05-27). "CANNES: Drafthouse Films Acquires U.S. Rights To Jean Dujardin Starrer 'La French'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-05-28. 
  31. ^ "Drafthouse Films Acquires Cannes Critics' Week Winner 'The Tribe'". Deadline.com. 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-03. 
  32. ^ Jen Yamato (2014-08-27). "Drafthouse Films, Participant Pact On 'Act Of Killing' Follow-Up". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  33. ^ Zainab Akande (2014-08-28). "Drafthouse Films Acquires Comedic Romance 'Amira & Sam'". IndieWire. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 

External links[edit]