The Alamo Drafthouse is the latest theater chain to close its doors temporarily in the U.S. due to the coronavirus outbreak. In recent days, the situation has increased in intensity as local governments, as well as the federal government, haven taken increasingly extreme precautions to slow the spread of the virus. With that, the Drafthouse, at least for now, will be shutting down all but one of its locations nationwide.

This comes after an abysmal weekend at the box office, coupled with a recommendation from the White House that people avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. With that, major theater chains have essentially had their hands forced. The Alamo Drafthouse had the following to say about it in a statement posted to its website.

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"We are deeply saddened to announce that all Alamo Drafthouse Cinema corporate-owned locations, and all but one* franchise-owned locations, are now closed until further notice. All shows have been canceled, and all tickets will be refunded. This news, this situation, is devastating. When we re-open after this unprecedented and indefinite hiatus, it will be in a dramatically altered world, and in an industry that's been shaken to its core. We'll be in close contact over the coming days and weeks with our teams, suppliers, and colleagues on what these closures mean and what we plan to do next."

For now, the Winchester, Virginia location is remaining open. It's not been made clear why that is at this time, but the chain said it will update the post with any changes. The Drafthouse, a pioneer in reshaping the theatrical experience in the modern era, joins other chains such as Regal and AMC, the two largest exhibitors in the country, who have also temporarily suspended operations. This is an unprecedented situation for the movie business in the U.S.

Other countries, such as China, where the COVID-19 outbreak began more than two months ago, have closed down theaters as well. This has had a major impact on the box office, which has suffered hundreds of millions in losses. The Drafthouse, meanwhile, has pledged $2 million to help those affected by the theater closures, as many movie theater employees will be out of work for weeks.

"This has already been a trying time for our entire team, servers, kitchen staff, bartenders, projectionists, concierge crew, managers, everyone who makes Alamo Drafthouse what it is. To try and assist as many staff members as possible, we're working with the Emergency Assistance Foundation to expand and streamline our Alamo Family Fund in order to be able to respond to the increased need for emergency assistance by those affected. Alamo Drafthouse, through the AlamoGives initiative, has committed up to $2 million to this relief fund. We will have more information on this very soon."

It's not known how long the shutdown will last. AMC expects its closure to span six to 12 weeks. In the meantime, Black Widow and other major Hollywood releases will undoubtedly be delayed, joining A Quiet Place: Part II, No Time to Die, F9, Mulan and others that have already been pushed back. This news comes to us directly from the Alamo Drafthouse.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott