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Alamo Drafthouse plans to open new theaters

Alamo Drafthouse, the specialty cinema chain famous for cinema restaurants and a strict policy without cell phones, is expanding its North American footprint.

The Texas-based exhibit firm plans to open four more venues in new regions, including Chicago and Birmingham, as well as markets with existing Alamo Drafthouse locations, such as the Grand Prairie, Texas and Glendale, Colo. It intends to welcome these venues – and previously announced in-the-works multiplexes in Staten Island, NY; Arlington, Va .; and St. Louis, Mo. – at the end of 2022 to 2024.

The news comes while North American cinemas are in the process of a recovery from COVID-19, which almost brought the industry to a standstill. Longer cinema closures and lack of new product forced Alamo Drafthouse to file for bankruptcy on Chapter-11 in early 2021. The company has since dusted itself off and planned significant growth plans in 2022. As part of its bankruptcy filing, Alamo Drafthouse had to close down. several underperforming venues and currently has close to 40 locations.

“We are so grateful for the continued strength and recovery of the theater industry thanks to a packed list of titles by 2022,” said Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor. “And we are very eager to bring the unique Alamo Drafthouse experience to Chicago, St. Louis, Birmingham and beyond.”

In the coming months, Alamo Drafthouse executives are feeling optimistic about the range of blockbuster hopefuls on schedule. They include Marvel’s “Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” “The Batman” starring Robert Pattinson and Tom Cruise’s long-awaited “Top Gun” sequel. Other anticipated titles include Jordan Peele’s thought-provoking “Nope” and the Robert Eggers-directed adventure drama “The Northman.”

“Curing a diverse mix of films and showing independent artists has always been our passion,” said Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League. “By expanding our reach to new cities, we can celebrate these filmmakers with a wider audience.”

Each new venue will feature state-of-the-art laser projection, immersive surround sound and luxurious lounge chairs in auditoriums. The upcoming cinemas will continue Drafthouse’s commitment to preserve 35mm film, with venues in St. Louis. Louis and Staten Island among those offering celluloid projection. The company also intends to expand what they call the “Big Show” experience, the next generation of premium large-format cinemas with massive 66 ‘wide and 28’ high screens with immersive Dolby sound technology. As is the rigueur for the Alamo Drafthouse, each cineplex will be paired with separate full-service bars with craft cocktails, wine and local craft beers on tap.

Alamo Drafthouse Staten Island is scheduled to open in the spring of 2022. The theater will be kung-fu-themed and will feature nine screens and 893 fully seated seats. It will be home to the Flying Guillotine Bar, a collaboration with Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA. Like the House of Wax and the Press Room bars at Drafthouse’s other locations in NYC, the Flying Guillotine will nod to a unique piece of cinema history, in this case the story of martial arts movies. The bar will also feature a free martial arts video store.

For its first theater in Chicago, the Alamo Drafthouse will establish a store in Wrigleyville this fall. The six-screen theater will be located directly across the street from Wrigley Field in Addison and the Clark development.

The fourth location in Virginia will be in the Crystal City neighborhood of the National Landing District of Arlington. The cinema’s operators expect to start welcoming guests to the hall with nine halls this autumn. Following the new Drafthouse DC Bryant Street, the company is partnering with franchise partners Cojeaux Cinemas, which operates three other Alamo franchisees in Virginia.

In Missouri, Gateway City will join the existing Alamo Drafthouses with a 10-screen theater located at the City Foundry STL development in St. Louis. Louis downtown district. The new Alamo Drafthouse St. Louis will be a collaboration with franchise partner St. Louis Alamo Movies and expects to open this fall.

With three theaters in the Denver area already underway, the Alamo Drafthouse is groundbreaking at a Glendale location in the Glendale Entertainment District. The new theater with nine halls will open in collaboration with the franchise partners Alamo GlenCo Theater at the end of 2023.

In Texas, where the Drafthouse was founded, the Grand Prairie will accompany the six other movie theaters already in the area. The Alamo Drafthouse Grand Prairie will be a theater with 10 halls from the franchise partner Alamo Grand Prairie Bardin with a planned opening in early 2024.

The Alamo Drafthouse is also on its way to Magic City with its first Birmingham theater. With plans to open in the spring of 2024, the nine-screen location will be located on the Powell Avenue Steam Plant in the city’s Parkside District. It is being brought to the new region by franchise partners Birmingham Alamo Movies.

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