Sony Pictures acquires the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain

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The Future. Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that it’s purchased the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theater chain. While Netflix and Amazon own a tiny number of specialized theaters, Sony’s acquisition ensures that the studio (the only major one that doesn’t have a streamer) will always have a place to show its movies… which could kick off a competitive buying spree that reshapes the moviegoing ecosystem.

Means of distribution
Sony Pictures is getting into the movie business… no, the other movie business.

  • It announced that it had acquired Alamo Drafthouse (North America’s seventh largest theater chain) for an undisclosed amount from Altamont Capital, Fortress Investment Group, and the theater’s co-founder Tim League.
  • It’ll exist under the newly formed Sony Pictures Experiences, which will be run by Alamo CEO Michael Kustermann, who will also remain CEO of the chain.
  • That gives Sony its first theater chain since briefly owning Loews Cineplex Entertainment in the ‘90s (when the Paramount Consent Decrees that barred studios from owning theater chains had been relaxed).
  • Alamo, whose HQ will remain in Austin, TX, will still operate under the brand and retain control of its popular genre festival, Fantastic Fest.

For Sony, which has been doubling down on physical experiences in recent years, the acquisition gives the studio an exhibitor with a loyal following among younger moviegoers, a unique marketing platform, and a space to test strategies (like lowering ticket prices).

For Alamo, which had to file for bankruptcy protection in 2021 but also saw box office revenue increase 30% last year, the deal gives it a theater-loving, well-financed home where it can safely operate in a contracting business landscape.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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