Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Industry Entertainment (movie theaters)
Founded 1997
Headquarters United States
Number of locations
Key people
Tim League

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is an American cinema chain founded in 1997 in Austin Texas, USA that is famous for its strict policy of requiring its audiences to maintain proper cinemagoing etiquette. It has screens in 22 locations, including fourteen (with five more being built) across Texas, in addition to locations in Winchester and Ashburn, Virginia;[1] San Francisco, California; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Littleton, Colorado; La Vista, Nebraska:[2] and Yonkers, New York. Others are planned to be built in Los Angeles;[3] New York City;[4] Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Chandler, Arizona.[5] Its headquarters is located in Austin.[6]


The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded by Rice University alumni Tim and Karrie League at 409 Colorado St, in an Austin, Texas warehouse district building that was being used as a parking garage.[7] The company began as a second-run movie theater, and distinguished itself by the food and drink service offered inside the theater, including cold beers. The seating is arranged with rows of cabaret style tables in front of each row of seats, with an aisle between each row to accommodate waiter service. Customers write their orders on slips of paper, which are picked up by black-clad waiters. Soon after opening, the original downtown theater began offering occasional unique programming such as silent movies scored by local bands playing live accompaniment, food-themed films such as Like Water for Chocolate served with a dinner matching the meals shown on screen, and retrospectives of various directors and stars.

In 2001, the Leagues renovated a four-screen art-house theater at 2700 Anderson Lane in North Austin, called Village Cinema, which had recently closed, and opened it as an Alamo Drafthouse which specialized in first-run movies. With this new Alamo Drafthouse Village, the downtown location ceased showing second-run movies and began to concentrate almost exclusively on unusual programming including classics, cult classics, independents, documentaries, special guest appearances, and audience participation shows.

In 2003, the Alamo Drafthouse, under the direction of new CEO Terrell Braly, opened on 13729 Research Boulevard in northwest Austin. The Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek had seven screens, all dedicated to new movies. Almost simultaneously, the Alamo granted their first franchise, which opened in the West Oaks Mall in Houston, Texas. In 2013, the Lake Creek location was closed upon the opening of the brand new, larger, Lakeline location.

Company sold

ParkNorth Mall, Uptown San Antonio, Texas

In July 2004, Tim and Karrie League sold the brand, including the brand name, intellectual property and rights to all future Alamo Drafthouse expansion to the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas CEO Terrell Braly, John Martin and David Kennedy, but retained an irrevocable license for the Austin locations (Village, Lamar, Downtown), which includes their Rolling Roadshow.[8] In May 2003, Travis Doss opened the first Alamo franchise location (West Oaks Mall) in Houston, Texas with six screens. In August 2004, the largest Alamo (Westlakes) opened in San Antonio, Texas with nine screens. Since February 2005, the new company has purchased the original franchise unit from Doss, opened a theater in the Katy Area and in Spring, Texas and has built a new-build multi-screen theater in the Rio Grande Valley; though it was announced in 2006 and scheduled to open in 2008, the building has remained unfinished since the original owner was foreclosed upon in November 2008.[9] A second San Antonio theater opened in 2009 (Park North), with six screens.[10] A third San Antonio location (Stone Oak) opened November 5, 2010, with six screens. In 2009, the first outside of Texas was opened in Winchester, Virginia.[11]

In June 2010, founder Tim League was brought back in as CEO of the franchise operations.[12]


New York

In August 2005, Entertainment Weekly named the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema "The #1 movie theater in the country doing it right".[24]

Downtown theater

Of the first seven theaters, the downtown theater was unique for being the host of many important film events in Austin, such as the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival and Harry Knowles's annual Butt-numb-a-thon.

In 2006, due to rising rent in Downtown Austin, theater owners took steps to hand the theater over to a non-profit group called the "Heroes of the Alamo" foundation, operating the theater as a cultural arts center. However, with the historic Ritz Theater on 6th Street offered as an alternative location, the original Alamo was closed. The final event at the original location consisted of a special triple-feature event the evening of June 27, 2007. The final movie shown was Night Warning, with star Susan Tyrrell attending. At the conclusion of the movie, audience members were allowed to disassemble their seats and take them home as mementos of the theater.

After six months of construction, the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz opened on November 2, 2007 with a triple feature of Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, with a five course mushroom feast; a sneak preview of No Country For Old Men; and a Terror Thursday screening of War of the Gargantuas, introduced by Quentin Tarantino who flew out from Los Angeles for the night to attend the opening.


Alamo Drafthouse is famous for enforcing a strict policy on behavior while in the theater. Children under the age of two are not allowed except for showings on Tuesdays before 6PM which are designated "Baby Day" showings where parents are encouraged to bring young children and rules around talking are relaxed.[25] Unaccompanied minors are not allowed in showings, except for members of the Alamo Drafthouse's Victory Vanguard rewards program, which allows 15-17 year olds to attend showings unattended after their application to the rewards program has been submitted and reviewed. The application involves demonstrating an understanding of the theater's policies around talking, texting, arriving to the theater late, and basic tipping etiquette.[26] The cinema also prohibits talking and texting during the film. Anyone who violates this policy is subject to warning and potential removal from the premise.[27] Alamo made national headlines in 2011 when the rantings of one angry customer who was ejected for texting were included in its "Don't Talk or Text" PSA shown before films. "When we adopted our strict no talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to alienate some of our patrons," Tim League posted on the cinema's website. "That was the plan. If you can't change your behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don't want you at our venue."[28]


Every year in September, the Alamo South Lamar location in Austin throws a week-long film festival called Fantastic Fest dedicated to the horror, sci-fi, fantasy, Asian and "cult" film genres. Alamo Lake Creek holds the annual Zombie Film Festival (Dismember the Alamo) and the Off-centered Film Festival. The Ritz and South Lamar locations also participate in the SXSW Film Festival in March.

Other events include:

Rolling roadshow

The original Alamo Drafthouse team hosts 35mm screenings of famous movies in famous places all over the world with their traveling portable projection system and a blow-up screen. Past events include: Fistful of Dollars at Cortijo el Sotillo, Spain, A Christmas Story in Cleveland, OH, The Lost Boys in Santa Cruz, CA, It Came From Outer Space 3D in Roswell, NM, The Goonies in Astoria, OR, Close Encounters of the Third Kind at Devil's Tower, WY, The Warriors in Coney Island, NY, Clerks in Red Bank, NJ, Jaws at Martha's Vineyard, MA, Field of Dreams at the Field of Dreams, IA, The Shining at the Stanley Hotel, CO, Poseidon Adventure on the Queen Mary, CA, Escape from Alcatraz on Alcatraz, CA just to name a few.

Drafthouse Films

In 2010, Tim League founded Drafthouse Films, a film distribution company based out of Austin, Texas which releases "provocative, visionary and artfully unusual films new and old from around the world". Drafthouse Films has released thirty-six films since its inception. Its third release, Bullhead, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[41] Its fourteenth release, The Act of Killing, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, as was its sequel The Look of Silence.[42]


See also


  1. "Alamo Drafthouse expands to D.C.." Retrieved on April 5, 2012.
  2. "Coming to La Vista: a movie theater, bar and restaurant - all in one." Retrieved on June 23, 2014.
  3. Verrier, Richard (April 10, 2013). "Alamo Drafthouse expected to open multiplex theater in downtown L.A". Los Angeles Times.
  4. "Alamo Drafthouse to Fill Rave Cityplace 14 Space in Downtown Kalamazoo by Mid-Year, Officials Say." Retrieved on February 15, 2013.
  6. "Overview Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas." All Business. Retrieved on April 4, 2010.
  9. Sean Gaffney. "Alamo Drafthouse expected to be sold, completed," The Monitor (McAllen, Texas), May 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
  10. Bailey, W. Scott; Silva, Tricia Lynn (April 27, 2007). "'No-man's land' reels in a new era of entertainment". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  11. Staff Reports (April 11, 2008). "Alamo Drafthouse goes east". Austin American Statesman. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  12. Mark Savlov (June 4, 2008). "Reunited". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved June 4, 2008.
  13. "Alamo Drafthouse Cinema confirms exit from downtown Chandler project".
  16. "Yonkers Movie Theater". Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  17. Borders, Meredith (December 3, 2012). "The Drafthouse Announces A Third Location In New York!". Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  18. Dinges, Gary (November 3, 2012). "End is near for Lamar Plaza". Cox Media Group. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  19. "Alamo Drafthouse Now Playing in Richardson". August 9, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  20. "Alamo Draft House sets opening date in Lubbock, staff to get preview". Lubbock Avalanche Journal (Lubbock Online). April 15, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  23. Cruz, Gilbert (August 5, 2005). "10 Theaters doing it right". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 29, 2007.
  24. admin. "Moms and Dads Everywhere Rejoice, The Alamo offers Baby Day! | News | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema". Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  25. admin. "Teens and Parents, Victory Vanguard is now everywhere! | News | Alamo Drafthouse Cinema". Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  26. League, Tim (2011-06-10). "Alamo Drafthouse: Them's the rules". CNN. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  27. League, Tim (June 6, 2011). "She texted. We kicked her out.". Alamo Blog. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015.
  28. Smith, Drew (June 14, 2007). "Don't knock it 'til you've mimed it". Austin, Texas. Archived from the original on March 8, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  29. Brenner, Wayne Alan (August 27, 2004). "That Thinking Feeling: L.B. Deyo and Buzz Moran's Dionysium puts the fun back in cogitation". Austin, Texas: The Austin Chronicle.
  30. Ash, Elliott Thomas (June 9, 2005). "Group holds first debate: Dionysium promotes intellectual discussion in social atmosphere". Austin, Texas: The Daily Texan. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  31. Williams, Danna (November 25, 2008). "Master Pancake Theater: The Alamo's professional cut-ups get set to heckle the halls". Austin, Texas: The Onion. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  32. Vespe, Eric. "Quint reports on William Stout's MondoCon panel about the unmade Fred Dekker-scripted Godzilla film!". Aint It Cool. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  33. McCarron, Meghan. "MondoCon to Host Food Trucks, Exclusive Dogfish Beer". Austin Eater. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  34. Dickey, Josh. "Howard the Duck's Comeback Is Complete With This Mondo Portrait". Mashable. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  35. Maltin, Leonard. "Fun At Fantastic Fest". IndieWire. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  36. Borders, Meredith. "Announcing The MondoCon Lineup!". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  37. Crimmins, Deirdre. "MondoCon 2014". All Things Horror. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  38. Turek, Ryan. "MondoCon: Some Pics from the Floor, Initial Thoughts". Shock Till You Drop. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  39. Guerrasio, Jason. "Listen to Parts of the Rare Original Score for Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'". Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  40. "Oscar Nominations 2012: Full List". ABC News. January 24, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  41. CNN Staff (January 16, 2014). "2014 Oscars: The nominees' list". CNN. Retrieved May 11, 2015.

External links

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