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Sony Pictures Entertainment Acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 2:49 PM


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Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that it has acquired Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Founded in 1997, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has grown to more than 30 locations around the United States to become the seventh largest exhibition chain in the country. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and was picked up that year by a private equity firm. It was reportedly being shopped around earlier this year.

Sony Pictures Entertainment is a subsidiary of Sony Group Corporation, which includes movie production, acquisition, and distribution, as well as television production, acquisition, and distribution, television networks, digital content creation and distribution, and more. Movie fans may recognize the company's brand names of Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, Sony Pictures International Productions, and Sony Pictures Classics.

According to the press release (see below), the CEO of the theater chain will remain in his post and will be head of Sony Pictures Experiences, which is a new division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Alamo's headquarters will remain in the Austin, Texas, which is where it was founded 27 years ago.

“We are 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,” said Tim League, Founder Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “They 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.”

“Alamo Drafthouse has always held the craft of filmmaking and the theatrical experience in high esteem, which are fundamental shared values between our companies. I’m jazzed that our company is doing this,” said Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group.

“We are excited to make history with Sony Pictures Entertainment and have found the right home and partner for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema,” said Michael Kustermann, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “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. Together we will continue to innovate and bring exciting new opportunities for our teammates and moviegoers alike.”

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was in the news just recently when one of its franchisees filed for bankruptcy and closed five locations in Texas and one in Minnesota. The industry is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is likely not the end of news headlines like this.

Here's hoping that Sony can do great things with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema!

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Locations

Alabama

Arkansas

California

Colorado

District of Columbia

Florida

Indiana

Massachusetts

Missouri

Nebraska

New York

North Carolina

Texas

Virginia

 

Press Release

Sony Pictures Entertainment Acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

SPE will preserve Alamo Drafthouse’s distinctive movie-dining experience under newly established Sony Pictures Experiences division; Michael Kustermann will remain Alamo Drafthouse CEO and head new SPE division

June 12, 2024 – Culver City, CA – Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema today announced that SPE has acquired Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the unique and fastest growing theatrical exhibitor. The company will be managed within SPE under a newly established division, Sony Pictures Experiences. The deal reinforces SPE’s long-held commitment to theatrical exhibition and continued initiatives in experiential entertainment.

Alamo Drafthouse’s Michael Kustermann will remain CEO of the pioneering dine-in movie theater chain and head Sony Pictures Experiences, reporting to Ravi Ahuja, President and COO of SPE. Alamo Drafthouse will continue to operate all 35 of its cinemas across 25 metro areas under the Alamo Drafthouse brand. Alamo Drafthouse-owned Fantastic Fest, the world-renowned genre film festival, is included in the acquisition and will also continue to be operated by Alamo Drafthouse. The company’s headquarters will remain in Austin, Texas.

“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 Ahuja.  “Alamo Drafthouse’s differentiated movie-going experience, admired brand and devoted community fit well with this vision.  Our Crunchyroll business also aligns well with their audience’s interests. We look 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.” 

Alamo Drafthouse was founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin, TX and has grown into a thriving and dynamic dine-in cinema chain that is beloved by its fans and industry alike. As North America’s 7th largest theater chain, it releases more movies per year than any other theater chain, welcomes over 10 million guests annually, and has built a highly engaged core audience of 4 million loyalty members. Last year, the theater chain saw a 30 percent jump in box office revenue from the previous year, which came in ahead of the industry at large.

“We are 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,” said Tim League, Founder Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “They 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.”

“Alamo Drafthouse has always held the craft of filmmaking and the theatrical experience in high esteem, which are fundamental shared values between our companies. I’m jazzed that our company is doing this,” said Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group.

“We are excited to make history with Sony Pictures Entertainment and have found the right home and partner for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema,” said Michael Kustermann, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “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. Together we will continue to innovate and bring exciting new opportunities for our teammates and moviegoers alike.”

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

About Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Group Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. Sony Pictures Television operates dozens of wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies around the world. SPE’s Motion Picture Group production organizations include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, 3000 Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films, AFFIRM Films, Sony Pictures International Productions, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html

About Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded in 1997 as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin, TX. Twenty-seven years later, with 35 locations and counting, Alamo Drafthouse has been called “the best theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly and “the best theater in the world” by Wired. Alamo Drafthouse has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining best-in-class food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star-studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse created Fantastic Fest, a world-renowned genre film festival dubbed “The Geek Telluride” by Variety featuring independents, international filmmakers, and major Hollywood studios. Alamo Drafthouse continues to expand its brand in new and exciting ways, including the American Genre Film Archive, a non-profit film archive dedicated to preserving, restoring and sharing film, and with several new theaters announced for this year and beyond.



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