The movie business has just suffered another setback. Popular theater chain Alamo Drafthouse has officially filed for bankruptcy. The Chapter 11 filing comes after a difficult year in which most movie theaters around the country were shut down for months, with business only trickling back in once they did reopen. With that, the Texas-based chain had to take drastic measures to survive.
Altamont Capital Partners has made a purchase agreement and will buy the company. The bankruptcy filing was part of the agreement. Altamont had been a previous investor in the Drafthouse, which is known for providing dining and unique experiences beyond what a typical movie theater is known for. Fortress Investment Group is also involved in the purchase. Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor had this to say in a statement.
"Alamo Drafthouse had one of its most successful years in the company's history in 2019 with the launch of its first Los Angeles theater and box office revenue that outperformed the rest of the industry. We're excited to work with our partners at Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group to continue on that path of growth on the other side of the pandemic, and we want to ensure the public that we expect no disruption to our business and no impact on franchise operations, employees and customers in our locations that are currently operating."
Tim League, the founder and former CEO of Alamo Drafthouse, will remain a part of the company. He is part of the group purchasing the company's assets. League was replaced as CEO by Shelli Taylor in April 2020. As part of the bankruptcy fallout, several of the chain's locations are set to close. One of the locations closing is The Ritz, one of the chain's flagship locations located in the heart of Downtown Austin, Texas. The news was confirmed via a post on the Drafthouse website, with the chain saying the following.
"To our guests, thank you for your continuing support... We'll make certain that all of our signature series will find a new home at another Austin Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, and that the spirit and personality of The Ritz will continue. To the team members who built and sustained The Ritz, thank you, thank you, thank you. You, your sweat, and your passions are what made the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz a unique and wonderful home for so many communities in Austin."
The movie theater chain will continue operations during the bankruptcy proceedings, changes are surely afoot. While the Drafthouse is not nearly as big as AMC or Regal, the business had been doing well and expanding before 2020. It is an example of just how much the movie business has suffered in the last 12 months. Alamo Drafthouse, and other theaters, have been trying to creatively drum up business but those efforts haven't proved to be overly fruitful.
AMC, the largest theater chain in the U.S., has been staving off bankruptcy for months. The company has had to raise millions to avoid it, and they remain billions in debt. This news was previously reported by Variety.