I love going to the movies!
I mean, I really love it. Sitting in the dark theater, waiting for the movie trailers and ads for concessions to start. The smell of fresh popcorn popping in the lobby/ I love it! For movie lovers like me, the movie-going experience is just as important as the movie.
Watching a beautiful love story or my favorite Marvel movie in a noisy, crowded theater, with crying babies, sticky floors, and talking teenagers is my idea of a nightmare.
So when the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema came to town in the fall of 2013, I was ecstatic.
Imagine watching a movie in a clean theater. You can enjoy watching a movie in reclining seats with cupholders. Now add in a juicy burger, some rosemary fries and, an adult milkshake, then for dessert – warm chocolate chip cookies. Yes, that is the Alamo Drafthouse movie-going experience.
In the before times [before the pandemic], I enjoyed taking my 12-year old nephew, Ian, to The Alamo. I’m sure we saw almost every Marvel movie there. And The Black Panther twice! We ate burgers, laughed, cheered our favorite superheroes, and watched the movies, followed by trips to the Lego Store. [that boy loved the Lego Store).
There were Girl’s night’s at The Alamo for A Star is Born and The Princess Bride Quote Alongs, and so many more Alamo Drafthouse movie memories.
Good Times! Good Times!
So you can understand my surprise and dismay when I saw this headline in Variety about an impending Alamo Drafthouse bankruptcy!
Heartbreak, panic and many frantic tweets…
Fortunately, there is great news about the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in North Texas.
The Corporate Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas bankruptcy does NOT affect the franchises of Alamo DFW!
That’s right. You heard me! ! The Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas – DFW & Twin Cities will be returning.
The seven Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – DFW & Twin Cities with locations in Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant counties and one in Woodbury, Minnesota, are independently owned by the father and son duo, Bill D. (Owner) and Bill C. DiGaetano (Owner & CEO).
This family business signed a franchise agreement with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in December 2010 and opened their first theater in Richardson, TX in August 2013.
“Our franchisor Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced today that it has voluntarily filed for bankruptcy as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to have a negative effect on the movie business. Our DFW and Twin Cities locations are not in bankruptcy. We have confidence that when the Alamo franchisor emerges it will be even stronger and better able to support all franchisees,”.Bill C. DiGaetano
The DiGaetanos immediate plans for the North Texas Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas have not changed. The intention is to open their seven theaters over the next several months with the wider distribution of the COVID vaccine and a firm slate from studios for first-run film releases.
“To say that the last 12 months have been a roller coaster ride for us here at Alamo DFW & Twin Cities would be an understatement, and I know I don’t need to explain this to anyone. This pandemic has affected every single one of us, and we all have faced challenges at home, work, and school.
The well wishes, questions, and curiosity about our reopening are truly appreciated. Thanks to our bank, investors, local municipalities and federal government support, we are targeting a reopening this summer. We cannot wait to see you all again in a safe, fun, and of course, over-the-top theater experience!” said Bill C. DiGaetano.
Overview of This Pandemic Year
COVID-19 forced the closure of US movie theaters, including Alamo, in the first quarter of 2020. Aside from a short 6-8 week period in August- September 2020, the seven theaters remain closed due to the lack of first-run film releases from major studios, the hesitancy of guests to attend movies and the government enforced, reduced rates of occupancy.
What’s Next for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema?
The DiGaetanos continue to invest in their theaters and retain the full support of their bank for continued operations. This long-term banking relationship predates the opening of the first theater in 2013.
Separately, the DiGaetanos are waiting on the Small Business Administration application(s) for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants outlined in the December 2020, COVID relief package. These grants are specifically tailored to theaters, live music venues and certain museums that suffered significant revenue losses in 2020 versus 2019.
The film exhibition industry believes that once vaccines are more widely administered and major markets continue to reopen in New York and California, that studios will firm-up scheduled film release dates.
One Day Soon…
One day we’ll all be vaccinated and we can say COVID -WHO? A flood of blockbuster movies will come flooding out of Hollywood and we can all go back to the movies again.
I can’t wait to go to a movie theater again! I want to see ‘In the Heights’, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story’, and ‘The Black Widow’ on a big screen.
I want Dolby sound and to sit in a cushy reclining seat. And of course, I look forward to returning to the Alamo Drathouse with my nephew and enjoying those yummy burgers, and warm chocolate chip cookies at the Alamo!