When Alamo Drafthouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy 10 days ago, a flood of angst gushed forth on social media, lamenting the end of a much-beloved exhibitor. Since its founding 20 years ago as a single-location art house in Austin Texas, Alamo Drafthouse has expanded to become one of the top-ten exhibitors in the U.S., operating 41 locations in ten states. Throughout this expansion, it has maintained its reputation for offering a truly fun moviegoing experience, with food and drink aplenty. An outpouring of lament gushed forth over social media, grieving the loss.
Upon further review, it appears that the reality may be less dramatic and disappointing, with the bankruptcy representing a necessary step to put Alamo back on firm financial footing as it prepares to re-open its theatres after the pandemic. Founder Tim League announced that he will remain at the helm throughout the process, saying, “I just wanted to let everyone know that we are OK and will survive. It was a necessary action to restructure, but we’re in decent shape and excited to return this fall (knock wood).”
In fact, exhibitors of all sizes have had to get creative to meet the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Alamo has taken its turn in the spotlight over the past two weeks. The fact that Alamo’s existing investor Altamont Capital Partners is re-upping on its commitment to the exhibitor indicates that smart money is betting on the recovery of the sector.