No exhibitor has been unscathed by the pandemic’s harsh attack, with a recent news-worthy example coming from Austin, Texas. On Wednesday, Alamo Drafthouse announced that it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of its plan to restructure and recapitalize its business while waiting for a recovery in moviegoing. While the last 12 months have seen a collapse of historical proportions, prior to that Alamo had been on a run of record-breaking revenues and an expansion into new markets. At its peak in 2019, Alamo operated 41 locations across ten US states. The company’s current plan involves raising new capital from investors, closing of a handful of its lower-performing locations and re-negotiating leases at many others to establish more favourable terms. In last week’s announcement, CEO Shelli Taylor stated, “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.”
Alamo has established a unique reputation in the industry with policies that focus on the audience experience. They strictly enforce a no-talking policy during movies, but with fun exceptions such as their infamous “rowdy” screenings of Cats, with audiences encouraged to dress in catsuits and throw popcorn at the screen. Alamo’s theatres are known for offering upscale amenities such as luxury seating and extensive drink and dining options.