Popular cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Texas-based theater chain famous for serving movie-themed food and booze, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will permanently close several theaters due to COVID-19, reports Variety

Alamo Drafthouse was founded in Austin back in 1997 - since then it's grown into a major nationwide chain famous for its dinner-and-a-movie model. Considering the first time I ever had a beer and some proper food at a theater was when I lived in the UK, the mere existence of a local Drafthouse is an important cultural touchstone for US cinephiles. Where else could you go see Avengers: Endgame and sip a boozy 'Awake Until the End Game Shake' while watching Thanos get his ass beat by the squad? 

Alamo Drafthouse's bankruptcy filing is part of an asset purchase agreement with a previous investor in the company. As part of that deal, The Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in downtown Austin will close, as well as two other locations: one in Texas and the other in Kansas City, Missouri. The Ritz is an especially hard blow for Drafthouse fans, as it's a 90-year-old building considered the "spiritual successor" to the first Alamo Drafthouse theater, according to a farewell post on Drafthouse.com. "For the past 12-and-a-half years the Ritz represented what Alamo Drafthouse theaters could be, beginning with the triple feature opening night lineup," the post reads. Oh, that 2007 triple feature opening night lineup? Here's what it entailed:

  • A sneak preview of No Country For Old Men
  • A five-course mushroom feast served alongside Japanese horror film Matango
  • A midnight screening of War of the Gargantua with special guest Quentin Tarantino, who stomped on a miniature model of the city of Austin

Despite the sting that comes with the loss of the Ritz and two other Drafthouse theaters, the purchasing agreement will hopefully keep the other locations open for a long time, as Drafthouse reports "the transaction will provide the company with much-needed incremental financing." According to the announcement, the remaining theaters will remain open nationwide and follow state COVID-19 guidelines. Long live the Drafthouse.

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Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.