The Last Word: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Co‑Founder on Chain’s Acquisition by Sony Pictures Entertainment

“We’re beyond thrilled to join forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment to expand our company vision to be the best damn cinema that has ever, or will ever, exist now in ways we could only ever dream of.”

Tim League
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
.…on the Austin-based movie theater company being acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Moviegoers in Dallas-Fort Worth have had their cinema-loving dreams dashed—and raised again—in the space of a week. First came word that Angelika Film Center & Cafe Plano was closing, followed by news that the franchise group running five Dallas-Fort Worth Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas had closed them down and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The raised hopes? That came Wednesday, when Sony Pictures Entertainment rocked Hollywood by announcing it had acquired Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and its 35 locations in 25 metro areas, as well as its much-loved Fantastic Fest film festival. This is the first time since 1948 a Hollywood studio has owned a theater chain, due to a federal ban on the practice which ended in 2020. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When the news of the DFW closings was announced last week, a spokesperson for Alamo Drafthouse said the company was “heartbroken” by the news and “working as quickly as possible to get Alamo Drafthouse Cinema back up and running” in the Dallas neighborhoods of The Cedars and Lake Highlands; Richardson; Las Colinas in Irving; and Denton. That also included a location in Woodbury, Minnesota, which the franchise group Two is One, One is None had also closed down.

Local Alamo Drafthouse fans cross their fingers

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in The Cedars neighborhood near downtown Dallas [Photo: Alamo Drafthouse/Cedars ]

Now ownership of Alamo Drafthouse has shifted to a massive power center in Hollywood with deep pockets—and North Texas Alamo fans are hoping that Sony Pictures will soon officially confirm that it too is keen to reopen the five local theaters. That could keep the brand’s Austin-tacious vibe—best personified by this hysterical, expletive-laden pre-film message about not texting during movies—alive in the region for years to come. 

Alamo founder Tim League, for one, sounds like he’s on cloud nine with the possibilities facing the chain he founded in 1997 with his wife Karrie. Along with his Last Word above, League said in a statement that the people at Sony Pictures Entertainment have “a deep respect and understanding of cinema’s ability to both drive growth and create lasting cultural impact, which aligns perfectly with everything Alamo Drafthouse stands for.”

Tom Rothman, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, couldn’t agree more.

“Alamo Drafthouse has always held the craft of filmmaking and the theatrical experience in high esteem, which are fundamental shared values between our companies,” he said in a statement. “I’m jazzed that our company is doing this.”

Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas are known for their engaged fans and movie parties. [Photo: Heather Kennedy]

Michael Kustermann, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, added that his company was “created by film lovers for film lovers. We know how important this is to Sony, and it serves as further evidence of their commitment to the theatrical experience. Together we will continue to innovate and bring exciting new opportunities for our teammates and moviegoers alike.”

Aiming to assuage competitive concerns among other Hollywood studios, Sony Pictures President and COO Ravi Ahuja said his company looks forward to “building upon the innovations that have made Alamo Drafthouse successful and will, of course, continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors.”

Under the acquisition, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema will continue to be operated by Alamo Drafthouse, and its HQ will remain in Austin.

Sony Pictures Entertainment acquired Alamo Drafthouse from owners Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group, and founder Tim League. Goldman Sachs acted as exclusive financial advisor to Alamo Drafthouse in the transaction.

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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