Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy, closes theaters in downtown Austin and New Braunfels

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 3 and announced the closure of two Texas theaters: Alamo Drafthouse Marketplace in New Braunfels and The Ritz in downtown Austin. Through the filing, the company will sell its assets to a group of investors, including Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and executive chairman, among others.

A statement by the company attributed the filing to financial challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic and its "outsized impact" on the movie theater industry.

The video above is from the early months of the coronavirus pandemic when the Alamo Drafthouse remained closed while other cinema chains slowly reopened.

"We're excited to work with our partners at Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group to continue on that path of growth on the other side of the pandemic, and we want to ensure the public that we expect no disruption to our business and no impact on franchise operations, employees and customers in our locations that are currently operating," Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor said in the statement.

Aside from The Ritz, Marketplace, and a Drafthouse theater in Kansas City, Missouri, all Alamo locations are currently set to remain open.

"It is difficult to imagine Alamo Drafthouse without The Ritz. For the past 12 and a half years, The Ritz represented what Alamo Drafthouse theaters could be," the company said in the closing announcement for the downtown Austin theater.

The closure announcement for the New Braunfels theater also cited the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

League, who founded the theater franchise in Austin in 1997, said he expects business to pick up at remaining theaters this year.

"Because of the increase in vaccination availability, a very exciting slate of new releases, and pent-up audience demand, we're extremely confident that by the end of 2021, the cinema industry-and our theaters specifically-will be thriving," he said in a statement.

Alamo Drafthouse also announced March 2 that it will keep its mandatory mask policy and six-foot social distancing protocols in place following Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to lift the statewide mask mandate and pandemic-related business capacity restrictions.



"We are only following the guidance of the CDC and medical experts, not politicians," the company said in a tweet. "Right now, at what we hope is the beginning of the end of COVID, the health of our teams and our guests remains the company's top priority."