Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has been acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment, which plans to continue expanding the national dine-in theater chain's operations.

The details

The Austin-based cinema franchise was founded in the city in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League, who opened their first theater with a single screen downtown. Since then, Alamo has launched dozens of theaters around 25 cities, with five locations now in the Austin area.

Sony labeled Alamo as "the unique and fastest growing theatrical exhibitor" in a June 12 news release. Sony Pictures President and COO Ravi Ahuja said the acquisition lined up with the company's push to present entertainment for customers outside of their homes.

“Alamo Drafthouse’s differentiated movie-going experience, admired brand and devoted community fit well with this vision. ... We look forward to building upon the innovations that have made Alamo Drafthouse successful and will, of course, continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors," Ahuja said.

What's next

Alamo will be moving under the newly-established Sony Pictures Experiences division following its acquisition. Alamo CEO Michael Kustermann will remain in his position under Sony and said in the news release he believes the brand will continue to innovate on the theatrical moviegoing experience.

Tim League said Alamo's acquisition allows the business, which Sony said is now North American's seventh-largest theater chain, to continue to grow.

“We are beyond thrilled to join forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment to expand our company vision to be the best damn cinema that has ever, or will ever, exist now in ways we could only ever dream of,” Tim League said. “They have a deep respect and understanding of cinema’s ability to both drive growth and create lasting cultural impact which aligns perfectly with everything Alamo Drafthouse stands for.”

Sony acquired Alamo from League, Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group. Alamo previously filed for bankruptcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic and was sold to that investor group.

The acquisition also follows Alamo's North Texas franchisee filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and closed its locations there, although the company said the theaters may reopen in the future.