Will COVID-19 kill movie theaters?

Maybe I would like a Cerveza Cristal right about now!

Looks like a bunch of Alama Drafthouse theaters have closed, with their franchise partner declaring bankruptcy, saying movie attendance never really recovered from COVID. I’ve never actually been to a movie at any of their theaters but they sounded really cool, would like to visit one before they’re all gone!

That stinks. I’ve meant to go to one of those closed ones, but it was a little far, and we’re still introducing a small kid to the idea of theaters and usually not having a babysitter, plus the price of babysitters, tickets, and concessions…

My brother in law will be bummed, he was always telling us about the awesome preshow entertainment and the excellent moviegoing experience there.

I was coming here to mention the DFW Alamo’s closed.

I am doomed! My family is now too spoiled to go elsewhere.

What made them different?

  1. Pre-show was true entertainment, and often funny as hell. It was not a commercial reel.
  2. They were serious about a quiet dark theater. I never had to deal with all the BS you see at the major chains with little kids running rampant (in an R rated movie no less) or talking or lighting up the place with thier phones.
  3. The theaters were always clean. No sticky floors or popcorn everywhere.
  4. Beer selection rocked.
  5. Food was good. It was exceptional pre-COVID, but only recovered to good post-COVID. Other movie tavern type places I’ve been to was clearly just reheating stuff from the Sysco truck.

Seriously, why did this have to happen before the new Deadpool movie?!?!

So a franchisee ran all of the North Texas theaters as well as the one in Minneapolis. That company has been through all kinds of issues, even before COVID.

Since they’re going into Chapter 7 I imagine the assets will be at a discount, and my thinking is that the core company will pick up some of these locations and re-start operations soon.

Super sad though, I frequented the Richardson location every time I was in town, not to mention the Oak Lawn one and Lake Highlands.

Flix Brewhouse is decent if you have the opportunity to go.

— Alan

The Woodbury (Minnesota) location was the one I went to. Guess that’s me done with theaters for the foreseeable then. Also made sure to cancel my Season Pass sub, since I can’t go to the theater it’s for.

we are in the same boat. I’m hoping the mother company jumps in.

Well, this is an interesting follow up to the earlier Alamo news.

Hell yes! Morbius, Madame Web, and Kraven in an Alamo marathon.

Huh/oof? What about the Paramount Accords breaking up production, distribution, and exhibition? Though on the other hand, Sony missed the boat on having a good streamer service to distribute and exhibit their productions… so they went to brick n’ mortar meatspace boxes?

It’s interesting! I hope they keep showing interesting movies with cool preshow reels.

Pre-post Edit: oh, the Paramount Accords died in 2020 along with GLOW and Drunk History with the pandemic:

Yeah, that was reported years ago, Netflix also owns theaters.
There were some fears, but the world that required the restrictions doesn’t appear to still exist, people probably look at these companies buying theaters and think something similar to “well, it’s your money to lose”…

Polygon thinks this is going to be paired with Crunchyroll, and they will start playing a lot more anime at the Alamo theaters. I have no idea how that will go down with folks who enjoyed the kind of fare Alamo had typically shown in the past, but I can’t say it would thrill me.

Depends. I was happy they had The Boy and the Heron, but when they screened like, the Demon Slayer movie I didn’t really give a shit. And I wouldn’t want them dedicating slots on the schedule to anything that wasn’t a movie at all.

I just mostly worry that the movie-lover attitude that made Alamo a theater worth attending and big corporations don’t really mix, movie company or no. The Hollywood production slate sure doesn’t suggest that the executive bigwigs are in it for the love of the medium.

Do you think it’s a zero-sum game, in that this would mean they will start showing fewer mainstream films? I feel like that’s unlikely.

I mean, only so many hours in a day right?

And most of those hours in the past year, people haven’t been going to the movies all that much. Maybe anime will fare better, and I’m sure the big hits will still be easy to find.

Yeah, and the alternative was them going bankrupt and likely showing zero movies.

Seems like a win to me.

I’m not sure this was a “Sony or Bust” situation, but sure, it beats going out of business. As to whether anime brings in the crowds, I wish them luck.

As it was most mainstream movies were in and out in 1-2 weeks over the last year or two. And ours only had ten screens. So, yes, I think it would. Wouldn’t be the end of the world necessarily - I was more excited about the Alamo doing like, film festival circuit movies and stuff than just doing a steady diet of the same mainstream stuff anyway, although they hadn’t done that since COVID really. Revivals, at least, but not much else in special programming.