The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Circuit Is Up For Sale

EXCLUSIVE: Several sources tell Deadline that the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema circuit is up for sale.

The news comes about a week and a half before CinemaCon, the major studios and exhibitors’ annual love-in in Las Vegas. I’m told that some studios have heard the sales pitch for the cinephile circuit, which counts 41 locations across 13 states. No bidders as of yet.

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Also, there’s no word on an asking price for Alamo Drafthouse. However, the Tim League-founded chain cleared $134M at the 2023 box office, +25% over 2022, per box office intel. That percentile jump is higher than the actual domestic B.O. rise of 22% between those two years; the 2023 B.O. for U.S./Canada hit $9 billion.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema typically touts a gift store of cinema memorabilia, arcade games and DVD rentals, plus a full bar and killer bistro menu with swanky eats and shakes. Also, let’s not forget about how these movie theaters are destinations for filmmakers doing Q&As in advance of their movies, or during opening weekend. Last spring, A24 had a surprise screening of Beau Is Afraid followed by a NYC-based Q&A with director Ari Aster, moderated by Oscar winner Emma Stone, that was broadcast to other Alamo sites.

The top locations for Alamo Drafthouse last year were NYC’s Brooklyn, Downtown L.A. (which opened pre-pandemic), Alamo Springfield 14 in Missouri, Alamo Manhattan (which opened post-pandemic in July 2022), Alamo Raleigh NC, followed by the circuit’s HQ hometown venue Alamo South Lamar in Austin.

Most of the top-grossing locations are owned by Alamo Drafthouse, but the circuit deal differs in that roughly 17 sites are franchise-owned. Alamo Drafthouse also separates itself from other cinema chains in its overhead: It’s not just a concessions and ticket-taker staff but also waiters and bartenders.

Alamo Drafthouse emerged from bankruptcy coming out of Covid in June 2021, with five new locations opening thereafter along with the shuttering of its Phoenix venue. At the time, the circuit came out of bankruptcy with the completion of a sale to Altamont Capital Partners, funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group and Drafthouse founder League. Among the new sites that opened, in addition to the Manhattan Financial District locale at 28 Liberty, were an Arlington, Va, D.C.-based Alamo that threw open the doors in October 2022 as well as a kung fu-themed nine-screen cinema and part martial arts museum in Staten Island that featured a collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA. That Alamo opened in July 2022.

Last July, Michael Kustermann was named President of Alamo Drafthouse, replacing Shelli Taylor, who retired at the time.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment about its pending sale.

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