With no way to provide a takeout option and with locations shuttered for most of the pandemic, movie theaters have seriously struggled in the past year. Even with select locations now open, movie theaters are operating at a limited capacity with few interested customers, since many people are still anxious about being indoors with strangers for a couple of hours without the ability to crack a window. Some movie theater chains and independent theaters have had to file for bankruptcy and close their doors. Now, another beloved movie theater chain, Alamo Drafthouse, has filed for bankruptcy and announced that they'll be closing a handful of locations as a result. Keep reading to see if your local Alamo is closing, and for another iconic company shutting down for good, check out This Beloved Chain Is Closing All Its Stores.
Despite the bankruptcy filing, most Alamo Drafthouse locations will continue to operate.
On Mar. 3, the Associated Press (AP) reported that Alamo Drafthouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing financial hardships related to the COVID pandemic. The movie theater chain is beloved by moviegoers for its dine-in service and cinephile-centered events.
The company is slated to sell off most of its assets to affiliates of Altamont Capital and Fortress Investment Group, so most of the theaters can continue to operate as the company begins paying back lenders. While the bulk of the chain's 41 locations can stay open, you'll have to say goodbye to a few Alamo Drafthouse theaters. To see if your favorite store is shutting its doors, check out This Popular Clothing Store Is Closing at Least 200 Locations.
Three Alamo Drafthouse locations will have to close, including the chain's most iconic one.
Under the new agreement, the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in downtown Austin, Texas; the New Braunfels, Texas location; and the Kansas City, Missouri theater will be closing permanently, according to the AP.
On March 3, Alamo Drafthouse published a blog post mourning The Ritz, which was the site of many special events in the past decade. "It is difficult to imagine Alamo Drafthouse without The Ritz. For the past twelve and a half years, The Ritz represented what Alamo Drafthouse theaters could be," the statement read. "Post-COVID, we’ll make certain that all of our signature series will find a new home at another Austin Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and that the spirit and personality of The Ritz will continue." To see another store you have to say goodbye to, check out This Iconic Store Is Closing All Its U.S. Locations.
Alamo Drafthouse isn't the only movie theater chain to feel the pressure of the pandemic.
Many of the biggest movie theater chains in the U.S. have faced similar fates as Alamo Drafthouse. In October, Regal announced it would be closing all U.S. locations. And as of January, AMC narrowly avoided bankruptcy after securing new financing. Meanwhile, small local theaters also continue to suffer as moviegoers remain fearful of the virus. And for more COVID-related closure news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The movie industry at large has been upended by COVID.
In addition to the government shutdowns that kept theaters empty for much of 2020 and moviegoers' reluctance to visit the theaters that are open, one of the biggest hurdles for movie theaters to overcome is the lack of new movies to play. Because of the pandemic, film studios have postponed major releases, shut down sets, or released blockbusters straight to Video On Demand and streaming services.
As early as the spring, it became clear that studios didn't need movie theaters to survive. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told The Wall Street Journal in April that, due to the success of Trolls World Tour on paid On Demand (PVOD) services, Universal planned to release movies on both PVOD and in theaters going forward. Then, in December, Warner Bros. announced that all of its big movies for 2021 would be released simultaneously on the HBO streaming service HBO Max as well as in theaters, which was another big blow to movie chains. However, with more people obtaining vaccinations, the hope is that things may soon turn around for movie theaters and other badly hit businesses amid the pandemic. And for another brand in the same boat, check out which Popular Accessories Chain Just Filed for Bankruptcy.