Art News

Denver Alamo Drafthouse Locations Survive Bankruptcy...for Now

Inside the Alamo Drafthouse Westminster, which is currently closed.
Inside the Alamo Drafthouse Westminster, which is currently closed. Kyle Harris
As pandemic shutdowns continue to disrupt the movie exhibition industry, Alamo Drafthouse just announced that it has filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protections in Delaware. The arthouse chain plans to restructure the organization and sell its assets to its senior lender group, which includes Altamont Capital Partners, funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC, founder Tim League, and other original investors, according to a statement from the company.

The moves are designed to help the business make it through COVID-19 closures until it can resume its long-term growth trajectory that was disrupted over the past year, according to the statement.

“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,” says Alamo founder and executive chairman League in the statement. “We are fortunate to have an incredibly talented and passionate team who are eager to welcome our loyal fans back to our theaters for a cinematic experience that can’t be replicated. That said, these are difficult times, and during this bankruptcy we will have to make difficult decisions about our lease portfolio. We are hopeful that our landlord and other vendor partners will work with us to help ensure a successful emergence from bankruptcy and viable future business.”

During this transition, the company says it plans to open three new franchise theaters, though it will permanently halt the development of a location in Orlando, Florida. The chain will also shut down the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz in Austin, Texas, and locations in Kansas City, Missouri, and New Braunfels, Texas.

The Denver location at 4255 West Colfax Avenue, which is currently offering screenings, and the Littleton and Westminster theaters, which are dark, are not included on the list of locations that the chain plans to shutter for good. According to Alamo Drafthouse spokesman Ryan Fons, "Sloan's Lake is still open, no change to that theater’s operation." As for the Littleton and Westminster locations, Fons "can only confirm what’s in the release," he says.

In the company's statement, League notes that there are difficult decisions to come, but it ends on an upbeat note.

“Alamo Drafthouse had one of its most successful years in the company’s history in 2019 with the launch of its first Los Angeles theater and box office revenue that outperformed the rest of the industry,” adds Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor. “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.”
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris