Austin-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse filed for bankruptcy this week, but the company says it won’t affect operations in North Texas.
The pandemic-induced Chapter 11 filing resulted in the company selling some assets in Austin, including its downtown location. With over 40 locations nationwide, the six Dallas Fort-Worth theaters are protected by the independently owned franchise agreement. Father and son owners Bill D. and Bill C. DiGaetano said in a statement that they intend to reopen the North Texas locations in the coming months as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more available.
Right now, they’re anticipating opening early in the summer. Technically, movie theaters are allowed to legally operate in Texas. But that doesn’t mean the customers feel safe enough to visit. Governments in other large markets have been more cautious: New York City will allow cinemas to operate on March 5 while Los Angeles is expected to reopen this summer. The two film markets are early indicators of a potential summer revival for the movie industry.
After a brief run of releases last fall, Alamo locations in Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant counties closed because of limited releases from major film studios and reduced foot traffic from customers. The DiGaetanos say they’re applying for a variety of federal grants and loans to keep the theaters afloat until it’s safe to reopen.
DiGaetano reflected on the closures in a statement: “To say that the last 12 months have been a roller coaster ride for us here at Alamo DFW & Twin Cities would be an understatement, and I know I don’t need to explain this to anyone. This pandemic has affected every single one of us, and we all have faced challenges at home, work, and school. The well wishes, questions, and curiosity about our reopening are truly appreciated. Thanks to our bank, investors, local municipalities and federal government support, we are targeting a reopening this summer. We cannot wait to see you all again in a safe, fun, and of course, over-the-top theater experience!”
Meanwhile, the parent company’s Chapter 11 filing includes a sale of some assets to Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group. That will result in the closure of “underperforming” locations nationwide. The remaining locations will restructure in accordance with the properties’ lease agreements.
But, for now, the Dallas-Fort Worth Alamos appear safe.