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Alamo Drafthouse Files for Bankruptcy (kxan.com)
156 points by undefined1 72 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 121 comments



Important to note that it's a "Chapter 11" bankruptcy, which loosely translates to "Our creditors and shareholders will take a big loss, but we'll keep operating and hopefully our customers won't notice a thing." As opposed to "Chapter 7", which means "we're shutting down and doing a fire sale of all our stuff so creditors can get a few cents on the dollar."

For instance, Hertz is going through Chapter 11, but you'd never know as a customer.


It's a huge difference. IMO Chapter 11 bankruptcy is one of the greatest strengths of the American legal system.


Generally agreed, but as a small business vendor on the wrong side of this it’s very painful.

During Covid, a client representing 20% of my income declared bankruptcy after already waiting > 6 months for a group invoices to be paid.

They’ve offered “secured creditors” nearly full repayment, while everyone else has been offered literally 1¢ on the $1.


It’s a painful lesson to learn but the key here odd to recognize when someone is a sufficiently large customer than a default represents an existential risk to your business.

Businesses tend to go the other way and be more accommodating to larger customers like continuing to fulfill their orders and not taking action at, say, 90 days late.

Secured credit can be one way to resolve that without being super strict on late payments or wanting repayment of limited credit.


There's insurance that covers this - no idea whether it's a good value but it certainly exists.

Here's an example: https://www.nationwide.com/business/insurance/accounts-recei...


We don't do work with folks with a past due invoice. It works well. We can't engage on the next engagement until you pay the prior.

The folks who slow pay are a paint to deal with overall I've found, so no big loss when they go. Or you don't get paid, which is even worse! And yes, they will slow pay anyone who lets them.


What are the quick pro/cons here? Assuming creditors take the loss (they assumed the risk), debtor loses the debt and what else? Do the debtors lose much besides their creditworthiness? The main con I assume is the moral hazard?


Chapter 7 means liquidating all assets - business gone, creditors can pick over the pieces to try to recoup something. Chapter 11 business is functioning and tries to restructure debts in a way to pay creditors back, maybe not wholly back but at least partly or with an extended time window. It provides a shield from creditors while doing this.

For someone like Alamo so adversely affected by Covid but with an otherwise (AFIACT) healthy business in non-covid times its a reasonable approach to try to get out from under-water without undue pressure from creditors.

You see Chapter 11 more around extraordinary operating circumstances, recesssions etc. Where businesses think they can get back on their feet given some time.


One of the big items in Chapter 11 is terminating expensive long-term leases. Since Alamo probably has this as their #1 or #2 expense, they can close locations without being on the hook for future rent.


I'd also expect that this would provide some leverage in renegotiating expensive leases, particularly given the hit commercial real estate has taken during the pandemic. I'd bet many landlords are willing to take a lower paying tenant already in a space, vs trying to fill that space in a low demand market.


I've read elsewhere that while this seems logical, it often isn't possible for commercial landlords as their loan terms are tied to a given rental price.


This right here is why i've been less and less enthusiastic about some of the roles credit plays in our society. You get credit assuming the future will be in some range, but then you can get screwed if it deviates. So now you have to fight for it to stay that way, and when shit hits the fan, there's this long chain of dependencies that needs to unwind to allow flexibility. Like it's trading robustness for efficiency.


Yes but efficiency is pretty valuable since we have limited lifespans. Providing the capital to start a company (or build new housing/apts) now rather than in 10-20 years probably does more good than harm overall. It's definitely a balance though, very easy to go overboard.


This is rather dependent on the landlord, obviously, but the actual rental price is often just one component of the overall cost of a commercial lease. In addition to rent, stores often pay fees for common area maintenance, security, etc., and negotiating on these fees is much easier. Depending on the state and legal situation, some landlords actually own liquor licenses that they rent to the lessee for restaurants or bars for a fee.

There's a lot of stuff that can done to reduce the costs of a lease beyond just rent reduction.


Does this lead to landlords keeping the space empty than lowering the rent?


I can't find the article, but supposedly yes. IIRC the reason was that the landlord's loan terms are dependent on the income from the building, but that number doesn't recalculate until a new tenant comes in, so accepting lower rent can trigger a large cash call.


Ayup. In addition, the revenue from a missing tenant can often be added to the end of the mortgage.

I've seen retail space in amazingly hot markets be empty for 5+ years now.


The main "pro" of a successful Chapter 11 is that a viable but struggling business is saved (along with the jobs provided by the business), although the investors in the business may see their investment wiped out. As mentioned elsewhere, being able to pick and chose which leases to assume and which to reject is one of the principal benefits. The main "con" is that unsecured creditors don't necessarily get the deal they agreed to, but (a) the claims of even unsecured creditors are prioritized over equity, and (b) bankruptcy is a known risk for unsecured creditors, and is presumably priced into the debt in the first place. Also, while a Chapter 11 is not going to help a company looking for cheap debt, there's a whole industry of providers of credit to Chapter 11 debtors. As long as there is a viable plan to reorganize, the company should be able to find financing or otherwise emerge with a functioning business.


Depends on how the restructuring occurs, the debtors usually lose some or all of their equity. Unless the restructuring makes the creditors whole, the previous shareholders don't retain any ownership. The entity survives, but the old stock is voided and new stock issued.


Chapter 11 usually happens when a company has a level of debt that was issued at a certain valuation or time in their business performance. And then for whatever reason, the company has poor performance and the debt level no longer makes sense. Good example is oil and gas companies that raised debt when oil was $100, and now have to operate in a ~$50 oil world. Their operating cash flow has decreased a ton (>50% due to fixed costs), and it's unclear on whether they can make interest payments (and probably can not repay their principal).

The equity will clearly not make any money and the business does worse in the long-run which presents more risk for more junior creditors (the company can not re-invest in growth, business contracts are more onerous as you have credit risk, low morale w/ employees, etc.).[1]

But Chapter 11 is not something a company can do at anytime. You have to prove that the restructuring of the equity and debt makes sense to either (1) your shareholders and creditors or, if that fails, (2) a judge.

Additionally, employees and the board will have equity that will get cancelled or receive pennies. So if it's marginal on whether there could be equity value someday, the company is not going to do it. On the flipside, it's pretty frustrating if you can't issue stock options that will have value someday.

Overall Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a great thing for business... it allows companies to breathe again and re-invest in growth. As far as cons...obviously the equity investors and maybe some of the creditors lose a call option on their investment (not worth anything today, but could be in the future). But that call option may be compensated for in the restructuring agreement. But the biggest con IMO is that Chapter 11 is expensive, and usually bankers / lawyers make outrageous fees here.

That was a lot and sorta of scattered. But if you see "Chapter 11" bankruptcy you shouldn't always think "this business sucks" or "this business doesn't make a profit," but should put more blame on a financier somewhere who created a capital structure that wasn't sustainable.

[1] The company may also have upcoming maturities in more junior debt, and the more senior creditors don't want them to pay the principal. Liquidation preference is a good search term if you're interested in this.

Edit: Also worth noting that creditors don't always take a 0. Sometimes their debt is reinstated, sometimes they receive equity for their debt, and sometimes they receive pennies just to get them to agree (cheaper and faster for everyone to agree than to have a judge decide). All depends on the valuation of the business and where their debt sits.


>Chapter 11 usually happens when a company has a level of debt that was issued at a certain valuation or time in their business performance. And then for whatever reason, the company has poor performance and the debt level no longer makes sense. Good example is oil and gas companies that raised debt when oil was $100, and now have to operate in a ~$50 oil world.

That's intended as a good example (in the sense of "clear, characteristic")? I thought oil extractors were expected to hedge or buy financial instruments that ensure they'll be able to sell at a good enough price given a project's costs. And even if not, it doesn't seem accurate to call that a case of "poor performance" but rather, external factors.


Chapter 11 generally involves a payment plan to debtors.


The business does. The individual doesn't. If that were the case, literally every business would be unlendable. Did you ever stop to wonder why commercial entities don't have a credit system? Commercial loans are devised based off of the old fashioned way lending was done. Look at several years of your income and financial discrimination on your risk.


> Did you ever stop to wonder why commercial entities don't have a credit system?

Isn't that what Dun and Bradstreet is for smallish businesses and Fitch, Moody's and S&P do for businesses issuing bonds?

Yes, not every business is in D&B, and it takes effort to get a record there, but it's not as if there isn't a commercial credit system, it's just not so engrained into everything like the consumer one.


I don't know exactly what "credit system" means here, but the only difference I see is that certain types of lending are so low risk or low amount, that lenders find it possible to automate the job via the use of the credit reporting agencies, who (in the US) use social security numbers to summarize people's history of repaying debts.

For any sufficiently large transaction, even for a person, such as a home mortgage, there will be manual review of people's incomes and assets, just like there is for businesses.


Which other countries have an equivalent to Chapter 11?


In Canada, there are 2 functional equivalents. A Division I Proposal [1] is a means for individuals and businesses to resolve "unmanageable debt", with no minimum amount. For large corporations with >$5Mil in debt, the CCAA federal law is more advantageous [2].

[1] https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-osb.nsf/eng/br02052.html

[2] https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/bsf-osb.nsf/eng/br02284.html


Probably many. It is a standard way to re-structur the debt of something which might be a viable business in non-terrible circumstances.

Spain: “concurso de acreedores”. The business asks the Government for a way to have lenders (acreedores) restructure/redimension the debt.

This way workers can still have job in the future, assets keep their operating value...


Nothing like that in the UK afaik. In 2008 Lehman’s had their London office locked and everything frozen on the morning of the bankruptcy. The New York office was afaik still open under chapter 11.


Uk has the cva which is functionally similar


> For instance, Hertz is going through Chapter 11, but you'd never know as a customer.

For most cases yes. I don't know the exposure risk of Hertz in this regard, but in a Chapter 11 it's worth remembering that any people who are legally owed money (i.e. unpaid lawsuits) are counted as 'creditors', I think based on how the GM/Chrysler bankruptcies played out, 'unsecured' ones at that.


Despite the 20+ mile drive I prefer Alamo to any other theatre in no small part due to their - depending on your view - strict but reasonable or utterly draconian [1] no using your phone rules. Having said that, when they got aggressive about expanding they shrunk their menu and removed local variations of both food and beer. Frankly, Alamo without a Honey I Shrimped The Pigs just ain't the same Alamo. I'd like them to let local managers add back a bit of flavor, maybe do pop ups in conjunction with local restaurants [2] and otherwise improve their food and drink offerings back to the quality they were when the chain started. Prior to the pandemic I still went to Alamo for my movies, but I ate beforehand.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs

[2] https://www.houstoniamag.com/eat-and-drink/southern-smoke-is...

Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke Foundation is doing pop ups in conjunction with other businesses and donating the profits to help food service workers impacted by the pandemic; both financial aid and mental health care. Laudable and his food is good.


Eating beforehand is a good option to have. Yonkers Drafthouse had local beer and good pies for the area (NYC suburbs) at least through my last visits in '18. Drafthouse Downtown LA had local brews through current suspended activities.

The Royale with Cheese was a solid go-to in both, and both venues were excellent for highlighting & enjoying local varieties. And / but when you, your date / group / cohort can decide whether to dine before, during, or after the film, the whole experience is better.


The original couple locations had _good_ food. AKA food good enough to go there just for the food instead of some local joint. Somewhere along the way I think they must have cysco'ed their food, because the last couple times I went there the food was definitively subpar.

This seems to be an unavoidable side effect of trying to scale like this, but I guess its just something you have to suck it up and move on (there is a up market drafthouse clone near my house, although their food was also on a decline pre Cov19.).


Their CEO came out at the time and tried to defend the decision, saying it was necessary to help them expand. But it was obviously one of those grad school exercises on how much you could lower quality and still sell at the old price gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Someone told themselves they'd make it up in volume but they were mistaken. It's unfortunate because surely Alamo like any other theatre makes far more in concession sales than ticket sales. Their CEO needs to completely rethink his strategy and return Alamo to its roots, or more likely get booted in favor of someone who will.


Nothing better than sipping beer and munching truffle popcorn at the Alamo Drafthouse at the SF location in the Mission. It really makes other theaters look like highway robbery; for the same money you get a dramatically better experience.


Totally. I saw a real shit movie there, I think it was The Accountant. Still one of the better movie-going experiences I've had solely on the basis of the theater itself.

Contrast that with seeing a rat scurry across the floor at The Metreon's AMC.


I honestly miss even moronic banter in theaters. It heightens the experience imo.


I wish theaters would have strict talking-allowed and talking-banned rooms if they survive the pandemic. People talking during movies is single-handedly enough of a reason for me to stop going to a movie theater


Almost all screenings are strictly no talking, but they also have "Alamo for Everyone" screenings and sometimes "Rowdy" screenings, and some special quote along, sing along, and movie party screenings.


FWIW Alamo is really strict against talking. I've never had an issue, and they have staff walking around enforcing (they're already walking around for orders anyway).


I'm in Austin and it's been years since I've seen anybody get warned for talking or having their phone light up.

Even if people weren't talking to each other, there's a lot of low volume conversations happening with the waiters and people use their phone to illuminate menus and to see what they are eating.


Not only are they very strict, but they have a lot of fun with it.

See an angry voice mail from one customer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L3eeC2lJZs, or the playlist with a long list of PSAs, many of which include celebrities, asking you to please not talk: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpX5OvrhWl9I59CYEx_Zt...

Props to anyone who can get Neil Gaiman to make a please no talking PSA in the form of an Agnes Nutter prophecy.


That's amazing. I would go to Alamo if there were one around me (if it were safe again) for that reason alone, let alone the food experience. I've actually been to a theater that served very nice food and drinks, Alamo-style, but the bar is so low for theater food that I'm sure even Alamo food is a treat


> People talking during movies is single-handedly enough of a reason for me to stop going to a movie theater

Depends entirely on the movie. If it's yet another stupid superhero movie, people yelling at the screen makes it much better.


We can agree to disagree. Call me a misanthrope but I'm not interested in any hint of another person's existence while I'm watching a movie. Though once the credits roll and lights come back, I can appreciate the low roar of people's reactions and chatter.


One of my favorite moments watching a movie in theaters was during the film “Independence Day“. When the humans of Earth finally manage to destroy one of the large motherships, one of the people in the audience yelled out, “Take that you fakkin’ aliens!”, followed by the entire audience cheering. It really added to the total experience.


Go to a theater in a predominantly African American neighborhood and watch a horror movie. You'll love it.


>I honestly miss even moronic banter in theaters.

Oh, so you've seen Master Pancake Theater?

https://drafthouse.com/series/master-pancake


I like to pop open a beer during the silent tense moment


Alamo Drafthouse is home to some of my favorite memories - from live riffs by Master Pancake (with a wide array of guest stars including Mary Jo Pehl, the Mads - Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu, Doug Benson, Sam "Jerry" Jones [Flash, AhAAAH], and many others) to Fantastic Fest to Sing Alongs to Movie Parties to Classic and Genre Movies.

I know they'll survive in some form, but this is tough, y'all.


A "Super Troopers" Mister Sinus Theater presentation featuring a syrup drinking contest is burned in my mind. Three audience volunteers selected before anyone was told for what they were volunteering. The hosts handed out bottles of syrup and said "Go!" One contestant gets nowhere. One downs it instantly because his bottle had iced tea in it. The hosts lose it because the third contestant got halfway through a real bottle of syrup motivated by the performance of the iced tea drinker. The hosts thought it would be a good show (it was) but never anticipated someone seriously trying. Audience howls. All contestants given prizes. This was over 10 years ago and I can still picture it despite having a crap visual memory. I hope Alamo can pick up the pieces.


The collected action scenes in Enthiran made the rounds of the internet during the four months I was living in Austin. And so naturally they got a print and screened it. Gotta love the kind of brilliance behind that move. Where else would you ever have the chance to see it on the big screen?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rDHnJvboy0c


I hope Alamo asks their fans to pitch-in as they can so Drafthouse survives and thrives. Saying this so solely as a loyal customer: I bought a bunch of tees[0] and hoodies[1] as holiday gifts through their Mondo store. They look great and are super high-quality. I have 0 affiliation, but a vested interest in having them back online sooner than later.

Between Drafthouses in Yonkers (NY) and DTLA, I've seen Live Programs with Crispin Glover, Penn Jillette, and makers I hadn't known previously. I've been to moderated screenings with audiences half-full of first-timers seeing Blazing Saddles, A Day at the Races, Spirited Away (subs v dubs), and me as the first-timer seeing Casablanca front-to-back on the big screen. Their pre-show reels are crafted with skill and care and with clever relevance to their feature films from multiple angles.

The org is run by folks who clearly love movies and create experiences for others who do too. They seem like they would be ethical in their handling of vendor relations through Chapter 11, though that's always TBD.

'Alamo Victory' is a good program w/r/t heds-up re event schedule, ticket-less admittance & card-less settle-ups, and reasonable perks for going to pictures. Victory's newsletter and mobile apps are a good place to start letting fans know how we can help.

[0] https://mondoshop.com/collections/apparel/products/alamo-dra... [1] https://s3.birthmoviesdeath.com/images/made/BMD_HOODIE_FLAT_...


Ugh, the Mads are calling again. Crow, can you get that?


This is mostly a restructuring to shed some debt before a big capital infusion.

Alamo's business model in a post-pandemic world is still a huge money maker.


There are some big uncertainties though. For example, now that studios can own theaters I wouldn't be surprised to see Disney buy one of the chains to show only their movies. It would be a huge problem for Alamo and other chains if they didn't get Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar movies at the same time as a Disney-owned theater would.


One of the strengths of Alamo is that they do showings for indie films and have weekly nights of older films. So cheaper to screen these and they make bank on the food and drinks.

And the biggest part for me is they have ZERO commercials while you're waiting for it to start. They show silly bumpers, youtube clips and internal promos.


> For example, now that studios can own theaters I wouldn't be surprised to see Disney buy one of the chains to show only their movies.

DOJ vacated the consent decree on studios owning theaters, but that doesn't mean that a studio exclusively screening its films at its own theaters will be allowed.

I kind of doubt there will be a big investment in studio owned theaters anyway. Maybe studios will pick up some of the closing locations to make sure there's a theater within reasonable drive of everyone, and maybe some flagship theaters in Hollywood.


I could imagine Disney owning their own theaters could be quite profitable for them.

I can't find an online source for this, but a decade ago I heard that the IFC Center in NYC was the most profitable (per-screen) cinema in the US, due to IFC Films already being the distributor of the films they show -- so no added distribution costs.

Then again, they've also controversially used non-union projectionists, so this might have just been a talking point on one side of that debate.


> DOJ vacated the consent decree on studios owning theaters, but that doesn't mean that a studio exclusively screening its films at its own theaters will be allowed.

Who's going to stop them? "We're pro-business" says both R and D.


I would really really hope that kind of acquisition would get killed by the DoJ (FTC?) on anti-trust concerns. But who knows...


Presumably the owners will walk away from this restructuring with nothing.


You're assuming the myriad petty government tyrants will give up the control over our lives that they've seized. Let me know how that works out for you - history shows that never happens without violence.


It's happened in the US in the past after previous crisis.

I don't understand the line of thinking that goes that the government WANTS to destroy businesses and economic activity and reduce their own tax base, income, and ability to operate...


I think there are good reasons to be skeptical. The USA PATRIOT act was rushed through congress in a previous crisis and it took nearly 20 years before it stopped being reauthorized.


I think your comparison misses the fact that COVID measures are largely decentralized because they require the agreement and participation of everyday people to be effective whereas the PATRIOT act centralized authority and control. As a result, the COVID measures basically lack enforcement mechanisms that could continue to exists after the pandemic ends.


They dont want it. But the incentive structure that determines if they get elected or not is set up in a way that makes supporting wealth creation a disadvantage


It's an odd strain of thinking, where everything is compared to Nazi-era Germany except the actual current fascism.


https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

> Please don't use Hacker News for political or ideological battle. It tramples curiosity.

> Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents.


You said a lot of wild things without any real assertions.


RIP Alamo Ritz:

As part of this bankruptcy, Alamo Drafthouse will close down underperforming locations, including the flagship Alamo Drafthouse Ritz location in downtown Austin on Sixth Street.

I've been there for a lot of special Alamo shows, including Master Pancake shows. It will be sorely missed.


It had a great run. The silver lining is that there's now absolutely no reason one ever has to go to sixth street!


> Our European visitors are important to us.

> This site is currently unavailable to visitors from the European Economic Area while we work to ensure your data is protected in accordance with applicable EU laws.


Alamo is a movie theater chain based mostly in the US South and CA that is known for adding food, bars, distributing both major studio and indie movies and really enhancing the "in-theater" experience. They're a very exposed casualty to Covid unfortunately.

While I'm sure European visitors are "important" it's mostly a US Brick and Mortar business so it's not that "important" to meet GDPR requirements apparently.


Right. I don't even know what is a Drafthouse? And now I may never know.


Alamo Drafthouse is a fancy theater that has limited seating, a VERY strict cell phone/talking policy, craft beer, and pretty good food.


The cell phone policy is a point of pride:

https://www.youtube.com/watch/1L3eeC2lJZs


craft beer, and pretty good food.

They do? Looks like typical mediocre American pub fare...

https://s3.drafthouse.com/menus/NOVA_DigitalMenu_JAN21_9x12....


Which is significantly better than what you'll find at most American movie theaters (popcorn, hot dogs, candy, soda).


The food selection is better, but every time I have been the actual execution has been pretty poor which is why I stopped going to the Alamo near me. I would rather eat before or after and see the movie in my other local theater which also has lower ticket prices and more comfortable seating.


Their food was better in the past. With expansion and other business challenges there was some cost cutting.

Someone further upthread suggested they should partner with local restaurants, and I think that's a great idea. Quality food trucks would be a perfect fit.


Food trucks work even better with drive-in theaters. But Alamo is making most of their profit from food & drinks. That's the truth about the theater business: most ticket revenue goes to the film producers. Splitting the food & beverage profit with 3rd parties would kill most of their income.


That's a pretty low bar.


I get that the Royale with Cheese is a Pulp Fiction reference, but at least they could have made it like an actual quarter pounder.


I've only been twice and haven't had a lot of their food, but it was better than I expected. The buffalo cauliflower was surprisingly good. Is it as good as food in my neighborhood? No, not at all. Is it far better than food normally sold to captive patrons? Yes, absolutely.


finest moviegoing experience in the united states, hands down.


Considering they've been showing this message ever since GDPR went into effect, it's clear that European visitors aren't important to them at all.


And why should they be? It's not like you'll be booking tickets.


The link is to a news article, not the business in question.


Something can be important to you and yet not important enough to pay the costs to remedy.


They only have theaters in the US so I would imagine the ROI is very low (a couple of tourists might hit it up at some point?)


It’s just a generic notice. I don’t think it’s anything to get riled up about.

Of course European movie fans are important, in fact, you’re probably gonna get a free pitcher of beer if you say you came all the way from Europe and going to the draft house was part of your bucket list.


I think they mean it's important to them to respect the laws of Europe.


It's not inconsistent to say that they care about Europeans who are interested in visiting their locations, while also punting on GDPR compliance.

Realistically, most Europeans interested in going to an Alamo Drafthouse are already in the US, so they won't see that message.

edit: I'm unsmart


https://drafthouse.com/ loads fine. https://www.kxan.com, on the other hand, doesn't.


You're not missing anything good, fwiw.


The world at large and Austin in particular are going to take a huge cultural hit because of our failure to deal with COVID-19 properly. NFTs aren't going to solve the fact that people who create art and culture are so vital to our civilization and yet for the most part live on the edge of financial stability. Sad.


Non-fungible tokens??


[flagged]


Ah yes, the "let the hospitals get overwhelmed" plan. Far more people would have died that way. The US's response was absolutely abysmal, I agree, but your plan would have been much, much worse.


Or perhaps we followed the original plan and had masks, tests, and tracking in place like the previous administrations had done.

The fact that masks are politicized at all shows how badly it was managed.


This makes me sad. I _really_ enjoy the drafthouse and I rarely see movies anywhere else because all other major theater chains prioritize squeezing dollars vs the experience.

I see that the founder(s) are still involved but I can't help think that it'll just be a slow decline until the drafthouse is indistinguishable from AMC or other chains and their infinite commercial pre-rolls and dirty theaters.

I hope I am proven wrong OR another theater that respects the art springs up to fill the potential void.


I generally feel that the Alamo Drafthouse experience is actually pretty terrible for movies other than big action or comedy blockbusters. I don't see how a place that serves popcorn in a giant metal bowl takes quietness seriously. And although they advertise it, they really don't police talking or distractions anymore or even equivalently as other theaters.


Don't worry; this is just Chapter 11. It gives Alamo time to restructure their debts, and likely is a prelude to a big cash infusion from somewhere. They're a fantastic, profitable business in normal times; tearing the company apart and selling it for scrap would not be in anyone's best interests.

On the downside, as the article mentions, some of their lower-performing locations will likely close.


Damn, hopefully the SF location doesn’t change too much in response to this. There and the New Parkway in Oakland are the only theaters I really go to.


(+1 for the New Parkway. They've also been doing pretty great 'food crates' to make ends meet while they aren't playing movies...)


Thanks for letting me know, ordered a crate for pickup next week (Seems that they are doing well selling them in general)!


I still haven't made it to the New Parkway. Thanks for the nudge.


Agreed. The Alamo in the SF Mission has completely spoiled me and my SO. We are not interested in going out to other theaters but love going specifically to that one.


Glad to hear they're not planning on disappearing.

Spent many hours in Austin TX Alamo's during the SXSW festivals. A wonderful experience. A little like the UKs Everyman chain (but with stunningly entertaining kookie ads running).


>As part of this bankruptcy, Alamo Drafthouse will close down underperforming locations, including the flagship Alamo Drafthouse Ritz location in downtown Austin on Sixth Street.

Alamo getting priced out of Austin? Thanks Joe Rogan!


As someone who doesn't follow Joe Rogan, what is his involvement here?


Nothing direct to Alamo, but he's moved to Austin and is trying to convince all his rich LA friends to move there so they can essentially take it over and run their own scene.


I wonder how much Chapter 11 actually makes sense as a response to something like Covid versus a swift and merciless Chapter 7 and then rebooting the business once theaters are viable again.

Assuming that a Chapter 7+then+future_reboot was possible -- who benefits the most from allowing the company to attempt to limp along until the pandemic ends intact? Are there a significant percentage of company employees who are currently getting paid with benefits during the pandemic -- or is this mainly about making it seem as likely as possible that the business will come back so that the current set of non-compensated employees will try to limp along on their own without pay in such as way that they will come back after the pandemic is over?


Our studio was looking to four wall our new film using their locations later this year to do our US screening tour. I hope most of them survive as without proper theatrical venues, appreciation for Cinema in the U.S. will wane.


Just in case someone else is not familiar with the term "four walling".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_wall_distribution


Note that often equity holders are the biggest losers in a Chapter 11. Secured creditors and bond holders may well end up owning the company.


I will personally contribute money to them if I have to. One of my favorite businesses.


If you haven't already, consider buying gift cards.


Buy a gift card from a bankrupt business? Isn't that just a donation to their creditors at this point?


They are not going out of business.




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