The Alamo Drafthouse is putting a spin on its popular Baby Day shows by introducing Alamo for All, screenings that accommodate not only young families, but families and guests with special needs who are not able to appreciate a typical movie presentation.
Not that any movie screenings here are typical. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — the hip national theater chain with a location in Littleton and two more metro-area outposts on the horizon — has long touted its reputation for creating the perfect environment for movie watching, which includes food and drink service at your table. To maintain that perfect atmosphere, all but those Baby Day screenings have been 18+ only — unless the youth is with a parent or guardian, and no children under six are admitted at all. In addition, all screenings have a strict “no talking, no texting, no latecomers” policy that is strictly enforced.
Baby Day screenings, the predecessor of Alamo for All, relaxed the rules on ages and also talking, so that parents with crying/murmuring children could handle their kids and stay in the theater. Those screenings also lowered the volume and raised the lights — though cell-phone use was still prohibited. As the Baby Day program progressed, the Alamo saw that it could be expanded to help not just families with children, but individuals with autism or other sensorial needs.
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Alamo for All is more inclusive and aimed at all ages, with the basics of Baby Day still intact: Lights are turned up and sound is turned down; there's no pre-show or trailers; talking and noise is allowed, and guests can move around; latecomers are admitted; and adaptive technology is welcome (but no other electronics, please).
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These special shows are offered every Tuesday and Wednesday, with showtimes before 2:05 p.m.; there are also some select early-Sunday screenings. “We heard from parents, and the resounding comment was one ‘Baby Day’ a week wasn’t enough,” says Amy Averett, Alamo Drafthouse director of Family and Community Engagement. “Alamo for All screenings are for anyone who wants to enjoy a day at the movies and great Alamo Drafthouse food and beverage but needs a little wiggle room on our regular policies. Truly, everyone is welcome.”
A new web page on the drafthouse.com site makes it easier to find these special Alamo for All screenings and showtimes. The launch of this program also comes with a new “clarified” approach to the Alamo’s “no talking” policy to give guests with autism or other special needs a bit of leeway not just at these new shows, but at all screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse.
“We strive to be a fully inclusive environment. Anyone should be able to set foot in an Alamo Drafthouse and feel welcomed, comfortable and a part of the family,” said Alamo CEO and founder Tim League in announcing the change. “Our policies are not designed to exclude or alienate; rather, they’ve always been intended to curb blatantly rude behavior.”