Alamo Drafthouse Touts Post-Bankruptcy Expansion Plans

With sale complete, chain announces five new locations

The Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane (Photo by John Anderson)

Bankruptcy doesn't always mean bankruptcy. That's why Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection exists (just ask Apple, Marvel Entertainment, and Six Flags), and the Alamo Drafthouse has just announced that it's moving past its own debt restructuring with the opening of five new locations nationally in the coming year.

With mounting debt due to pandemic closures, the Drafthouse filed for Chapter 11 in March before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, which was accepted by the court in April. The deal was financed by existing investor Altamont Capital Partners and new investor Fortress Investment Group, with Drafthouse founder Tim League as a minority stakeholder.

With several locations already reopened, the Drafthouse launched a summer-long reopening initiative, with 13 additional sites opening before the end of July. Sadly, that does not include the Alamo Ritz, which will not reopen, and is one of three permanently shuttered (along with New Braunfels and Kansas City).

However, after a bumper weekend at the box office due to A Quiet Place Part II and Cruella, including sell-out screenings at the new Los Angeles location, the Drafthouse has announced expansion plans, with five sites in three markets confirmed to open in the next year:

• The long-awaited Alamo Drafthouse in Lower Manhattan at 28 Liberty (better known to New Yorkers as the old One Chase Manhattan Plaza). The location includes a new 14-screen theater, and the Press Room, a new bar and exhibition space with an archive of 50,000 letterpress film advertising prints. The theatres will include 4K Barco laser projection, as well as a 35mm projector in the booth.

• The Alamo confirmed that it is also continuing development on the Staten Island location, which will feature the Flying Guillotine, the kung fu film-inspired bar in collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA (2022).

• Two new locations in the D.C area, with two nine-screen cinemas: one on Bryant Street (opening Winter 2021), and a second, Alamo National Landing, in Crystal City, Arlington (Spring 2022). The locations will be opened with Cojeaux Cinemas, which already runs three Alamos in Virginia. Both sites will include 4K Barco laser projection, as well as the Drafthouse's new 66’x28' Big Show premium large format screens.

• Another long-awaited location: A 10-screen site in St. Louis, Mo., to be run with franchise partner St. Louis Alamo Movies, LLC. (Spring 2022). This site gets the projection trifecta: 4K Barco, the Big Show, and a 35mm set-up for repertory screenings.

The new locations will also have many of the developments applied in existing sites over the pandemic, including improved sanitation and HVAC, food preordering, and the Your Own Private Alamo personal theater rental initiative.

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