Shelli Taylor picked up the reins as CEO of Alamo Drafthouse on April 30th, two weeks after the circuit had closed all 41 of its US theatres in the early days of grappling with the disruptions of COVID-19. Alamo is widely regarded as one of the innovators among exhibitors, having popularized movie-going with a robust in-theatre dining experience.
In a long-form interview with The Verge, Taylor describes how Alamo has faced the pandemic and the key signs she is looking for that will signal a reboot and return of cinema. Taylor is confident that Alamo is well-positioned to emerge with their business and their customer relationships intact. “Alamo’s secret sauce really is creating these communal experiences for people, bringing the community together to laugh, cry, gasp, whatever, but have fun together. That won’t go out of style.” She highlights a number of goals they had on their “roadmap” that they have brought forward into the present, including streamlining advanced ordering for tickets and food before the customer arrives as the theatre. They have also promoted Alamo-On-Demand as a way to present movies to their loyal customers while they are unable to or uncomfortable with going the theatre. The film industry needs theatres…really good theatres…because they provide the best presentation Hollywood can offer to the public.