Financing

Sony Pictures Entertainment acquires Alamo Drafthouse

The Austin, Texas-based restaurant-movie theater hybrid will be operated under a new division within the studio called Sony Pictures Experiences.
The lobby of an Alamo Drafthouse in Charlottesville, Va., last year. | Photo: Shutterstock

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain has a new owner.

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) said Wednesday it has acquired the Austin, Texas-based Alamo chain, a restaurant/movie theater hybrid with 35 company-owned locations across 25 metro areas. It was sold by Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and founder Tim League.

Terms were not disclosed.

Alamo CEO Michael Kustermann will remain at the helm, and the Alamo concept will be managed under a new division, called Sony Pictures Experiences. Sony said the move reinforces its commitment to theatrical exhibition and continued initiatives in experiential entertainment.

Included in the deal is the Fantastic Fest, a genre-film festival known as “The Geek Telluride,” which will continue to be operated by Alamo.

“We believe strongly in engaging entertainment fans outside the home in fun and distinctive ways as seen most recently with our Wheel of Fortune LIVE! Traveling tour, and the opening of Wonderverse in Chicago,” said Ravi Ahuja, SPE’s president and COO, in a statement. “Alamo Drafthouse’s differentiated movie-going experience, admired brand and devoted community fit well with this vision.”

Ahuja noted that Alamo Drafthouses will continue to show content from all studios and distributors, not just Sony.

The Alamo chain was founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League in Austin and has grown to become North America’s seventh-largest theater chain. SPE said Alamo releases more movies per year than any other movie chain, and sees about 10 million guests annually.

Last year, Alamo saw a 30% increase in box office revenue, the company said.

Last week, however, a six-unit franchise operator closed its locations and filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, citing excessive financial losses in 2023.

The franchisor also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in 2021, following the pandemic shutdown. That’s when lenders at the time, Altamont and Fortress, took ownership, along with League.

Kustermann said in a statement that SPE was “the right home and partner” for Alamo.

“We were 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,” he said. “Together, we will continue to innovate and bring exciting new opportunities for our teammates and moviegoers alike.”

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