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Sony Pictures acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the restaurant chain – Daily Press

Sony Pictures acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the restaurant chain – Daily Press
Sony Pictures acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the restaurant chain – Daily Press

 


Sony Pictures Entertainment is getting into the exhibition business. The studio behind recent films like “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” And “The Garfield Movie” has acquired the distinctive Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain, the companies announced Wednesday. The deal includes the Fantastic Fest genre film festival.

Sony said it would continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors into theaters.

Alamo Drafthouse was founded in 1997 as a single-screen family repertory theater in Austin, Texas, and now has 35 locations across North America. It stood out in the exhibition landscape with drinks, on-site food service and a cool ambiance that has become a favorite among movie buffs.

“We are beyond excited to join forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment to expand our company's vision to be the best cinema that has ever existed or will exist in ways we can only dream of,” said Tim League, founder of Alamo Drafthouse. A declaration. “They have a deep respect and understanding of cinema’s ability to drive growth and create lasting cultural impact, which aligns perfectly with everything Alamo Drafthouse stands for.”

For Sony, the Drafthouse acquisition also ties into its experiential initiatives, including its Wheel of Fortune Live! Traveling tour and the Wonderverse space in Chicago. Ravi Ahuja, president and chief operating officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment, also noted that the studio's Crunchyroll films are particularly relevant to the interests of Drafthouse fans.

Alamo Drafthouse has had its ups and downs over the years. In March 2021, the company filed for bankruptcy (chapter 11), closed some locations and canceled plans to open new ones. Alamo emerged from bankruptcy in late May 2021, under the ownership of League, Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group. Former Caveman Foods executive Michael Kusterman has been named CEO of Alamo. He will remain head of the new Sony Pictures Experiences division and report to Ahuja, the statement said.

Last year, following the Barbenheimer frenzy, Alamo Drafthouse employees in Manhattan and Brooklyn voted to unionize. Similar efforts were attempted in San Francisco and Austin and met with resistance from leaders.

For many years, Hollywood studios were unable to run movie theaters and control what was shown on those screens, following a landmark antitrust case before the Supreme Court in 1948 that banned practices such as “block booking,” in which studios required theaters to book a set of their films. Each of the major studios has entered into a consent agreement with the Department of Justice, known as primordial consent decrees, which forced major studios that owned theaters at the time to divest their distribution operations or theaters.

Conflicts between the business practices of Hollywood studios and the federal government date back to the early 1920s, over concerns about vertical integration and monopolization of film production and distribution. In the 1930s and 1940s, most first-run movie theaters had only one screen.

Distribution and broadcasting have undergone vast changes since the days of Supreme Consent Decrees, including the proliferation of multiplex theaters that show films from different exhibitors throughout the day and the advent of television, video domestic and streaming. The separation mandate officially ended in 2020 when the overarching consent decrees ended.

Today, Netflix, for example, owns several movie theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and Walt Disney Co., not part of the original “big eight” in the 1940s, owns and operates the El Capitan in Los Angeles. Angeles. Cinema chains have also recently left their lane, with artists like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé. in direct partnership with AMC Theaters to distribute their concert films.

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