Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is an American cinema chain founded in 1997 in Austin, Texas, United States. It has screens in eight locations across Texas.


The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded by Tim and Karrie League at 409 Colorado St, in an Austin, Texas warehouse-district building that was being used as a parking garage. The company began as a second-run movie theater, and distinguished itself by the food and drink service offered inside the theater, including cold beers. The seating is arranged with rows of cabaret style tables in front of each row of seats, with an aisle between each row to accommodate waiter service. Customers write their orders on slips of paper, which are picked up by black-clad waiters moving quietly between the rows. Soon after opening, the original downtown theater began offering occasional unique programming such as silent movies scored by local bands playing live accompaniment, food-themed films such as "Like Water for Chocolate" served with a dinner matching the meals shown on screen, and retrospectives of various directors and stars.

In 2001, the Leagues renovated a four-screen art-house theater at 2700 Anderson Lane in North Austin which had recently closed, and opened it as an Alamo Drafthouse which specialized in first-run movies. With this new Alamo Drafthouse Village, the downtown location ceased showing second-run movies and began to concentrate almost exclusively on unusual programming including classics, cult classics, independents, documentaries, special guest appearances, and audience participation shows.

In 2003, the Alamo Drafthouse moved even further north, to 13729 Research Blvd in Cedar Park. The Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek has seven screens, all dedicated to new movies. Almost simultaneously, the Alamo granted their first franchise, which opened in the West Oaks Mall in Houston, Texas.

Company Sold

In July 2004, Tim and Karrie League sold the entire company, including the brand, intellectual property and rights to all future Alamo Drafthouse expansion to CEO Terrell Braly, John Martin and a partner, retaining only the original downtown location, the Alamo Village and the Alamo South Lamar, a six screen theater opened in 2005, to run as licensees of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Ltd. In August 2004, the largest Alamo (Westlakes) opened in San Antonio, Texas with nine screens. Since October 2005, the new company, under CEO and partner John Martin, has opened a theater in Katy, Texas and has built a new-build multi-screen theater in the Rio Grande Valley, scheduled to open in 2008. A second San Antonio theater is underway (Park North), which will have six screens and is scheduled to open in 2009. [cite news | url= | publisher=San Antonio Business Journal | title='No-man's land' reels in a new era of entertainment | author=Bailey, W. Scott; Silva, Tricia Lynn | date=2007-04-27 | accessdate=2007-12-02] The first outside of Texas was recently announced to open in Virginia in early 2009 [cite news | url= | publisher=Austin American Statesman| title=Alamo Drafthouse goes east| author=Staff Reports | date=2008-04-11 | accessdate=2008-04-11]


Company locations

*Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek – Austin (7 screens; opened May 2003)
*Alamo Drafthouse West Oaks MallHouston (6 screens; opened May 2003)
*Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park – unincorporated Harris County (7 screens; opened February 2006)

Franchisee/Licensee locations

*Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz (Downtown) – Austin (2 screens; opened November 2007); Previous downtown location (single screen; 1997-2007)
*Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar – Austin (6 screens; opened March 7 2005)
*Alamo Drafthouse Village – Austin (4 screens; opened July 2001)
*Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes – San Antonio (9 screens; opened August 2004)
*Alamo Drafthouse Rio Grande Valley – unincorporated Hidalgo County (6 screens; opening 2008)
*Alamo Drafthouse Park North - San Antonio (6 screens; opening 2009)
*Alamo Drafthouse Winchester - unincorporated Frederick County (10 screens; opening early 2009)Worldwide
*Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow - Multiple locations worldwide

In August 2005, "Entertainment Weekly" named the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema "The #1 movie theater in the country doing it right".cite news |url=,,1090060,00.html |title=10 Theaters doing it right |publisher=Entertainment Weekly |last=Cruz |first=Gilbert |accessdate=2007-03-29 |date=2005-08-05]


Austin: every year in September, the Alamo South Lamar location throws a week long film festival called Fantastic Fest dedicated to the horror, sci-fi, fantasy, Asian and "cult" film genres; Alamo Lake Creek holds the annual Zombie Film Festival (Dismember the Alamo) and the Off-centered Film Festival; The Ritz and South Lamar locations also participate in the SXSW Film Festival in March.

Downtown Theater

Of the first seven theaters, the downtown theater was unique for being the host of many important film events in Austin, such as the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival and Harry Knowles's annual Butt-numb-a-thon.

In 2006, due to rising rent in downtown Austin, theater owners took steps to hand the theater over to a non-profit group called the "Heroes of the Alamo" foundation, operating the theater as a cultural arts center. However, with the historic Ritz Theater on 6th Street offered as an alternative location, the original Alamo was closed. The final event at the original location consisted of a special triple-feature event the evening of June 27, 2007. The final movie shown was Night Warning, with star Susan Tyrrell attending. At the conclusion of the movie, audience members were allowed to disassemble their seats and take them home as mementos of the theater.

After six months of construction, the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz opened on November 2, 2007 with a triple feature of "", with a five course mushroom feast; a sneak preview of "No Country For Old Men"; and a Terror Thursday screening of "War of the Gargantuas", introduced by Quentin Tarantino who flew out from Los Angeles for the night to attend the opening.

Rolling Roadshow

The Alamo Drafthouse hosts a traveling portable projection system with a blow-up screen.

Past Events

Burt-a-thon / Smokey & The Bandit Scavenger Hunt

August 14-15, 2007

August 14 2007 at the Starlight Six Drive-In [] in Atlanta the Rolling Roadshow presented Burt-a-thon, [] a triple-feature of Burt Reynolds movies. Showing were Smokey & The Bandit [] , White Lightning [] and Sharky's Machine [] . All three movies involved Atlanta, Georgia and Texarkana, Arkansas. People who came to the event in Pontiac Trans Am's we allowed VIP parking, and drinks. Event was sponsored by Ain't It Cool News [] , New Line Cinema, [] and Dewars Scotch Whiskey. []

The next day on August 15 2007, six teams met with the Rolling Roadshow [] crew to go on the Scavenger Hunt. They met at 8 am at the Starlight [] and were given a list of items to take pictures of related to the film, Smokey & The Bandit. Originally the owners had said they would only allow 20 teams to participate, and closed the registration a few weeks prior to the event. A total of 16 teams signed up at $25 each. However, only 6 teams showed up on the day of the event. This may have been in part to the previous night's films running until nearly 3 am. Not much is known about all of the participants, but there was a team who drove to Atlanta from Baltimore, Maryland, getting in at 6 am, only to have to meet up and leave again at 8 am. One team consisted of three men in costume (including crash helmets, fake mustaches and opera capes) the entire trip. One team was made up of only one person. His partner had dropped out the night before. One team was made up of four women, the self-titled "Team BANDIT". All teams were issued the photo list and their registrations were taken from them and put into a sealed bag. This was an attempt to keep the teams from speeding and getting in trouble with the law. For, if opened, the team would be disqualified. The teams were to meet up in Texarkana (one of the two named cities in the original film) at the Four State Fairground by 9 pm CST. [] There, the Roadshow crew would be showing "Smokey" again, for free. The teams arrived as close to 9 pm as possible, after driving over 700 miles from Atlanta. After checking all the photos submitted by the teams, and each team doing one last 'event', a conversation on microphone in 'trucker lingo' in front of the assembled crowd of hundreds for the last 107 points, it was announced that "Team BANDIT" had won the prize. The first-place prize was a 1979 Firebird Trans Am with over 378,000 miles on it. [] It has since been named "The Alamo", in recognition of the people who gave it to them, as well as they would always, "Remember the Alamo."The second-place team won a Tomtom GPS unit with directions narrated by Burt Reynolds himself. [] The third place team was the one with only one driver. Though there was not an official prize for 3rd place, he was awarded a lot of Dewar's Scotch Whiskey.

*"Smokey and the Bandit" Road Rally (July 27, 2003) - Teams were assembled at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek in the morning. They were instructed to seal their driver's licenses in an envelope and handed several sealed numbered envelopes with their clues. At the sound of the starting gun teams raced to their cars, Le Mans style, and they and opened the first envelope. Each team, by solving a puzzle in the envelope, were directed to a location where they received a number representing the next envelope they needed to open. Along the way participants were also instructed to collect scavenger items representing key themes from the movie. The final destination for the teams was Austin Film Society's studios at the former site of the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport where the Drafthouse collected the scavenger items and scored the teams. Any team who had to open the envelope with their driver's licenses (due to traffic tickets; or porn, alcohol or cigarette purchases) had points deducted. "Smokey and the Bandit" was projected on the side of an old airport after an opening show from Scott H. Biram.
* Camp HackenSlash (August 9, 2003) - A day camp for adults featuring crafts (e.g. duct tape wallets, T-shirt embroidery) and games (e.g. dodgeball, sloshball).
** Games
*** dodgeball
*** sloshball
*** tubing
*** capture the flag
*** relay games
*** hot-dog eating contest
** Films
*** "Freddy vs. Jason" - world premiere with Q&A from Ronny Yu (director), Robert Englund (Freddy) and Ken Kirzinger (Jason).
*** "Sleepaway Camp" - with Q&A from Jonathon Tierston (Ricky).
*** "Madman"
*** "Wet Hot American Summer"
* Zaireeka (July 24, 2005) - a pre-show from local bands Pong ( [ at YouTube] ) and Austin Theremonic Orchestra ( [ at YouTube] ) was followed by an exhibit of the Flaming Lips's simultaneous four CD music experiment played alongside four inflatable screens showing videos made by the Drafthouse staff and Wiley Wiggins. ( [ Clip of event at YouTube] .)


External links

* [ Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, Ltd. Official Website includes all Alamo locations]
* [ Austin Alamo Drafthouse branches owned by founders Tim and Karrie League]

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