Sony Pictures Makes a 'Rare' Acquisition

Studio conglomerate buys Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2024 7:43 AM CDT
Sony Pictures Scoops Up 'Cool Vibe' Movie Theater Chain
An Alamo Drafthouse Cinema sign is seen on Oct. 11, 2023, in New York.   (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

Sony Pictures Entertainment just got a little bigger. CNBC reports that the studio conglomerate has scooped up Alamo Drafthouse, the seventh-largest movie theater chain in North America, from owners Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group, and co-founder Tim League. Variety notes that "it marks a rare time in recent history when a studio has purchased a theater chain." Alamo Drafthouse CEO Michael Kustermann will stay on as the movie theater chain's leader and report to Ravi Ahuja, head of the new Sony Pictures Experiences.

Alamo Drafthouse's HQ will remain in Austin, Texas. Like so many venues, the chain suffered big time during the pandemic, and it filed for Chapter 11 protections in 2021; it "reemerged from bankruptcy" just months later, per Variety. The AP notes that during this time, the chain also closed certain locations and put a hold on opening new ones. The purchase is the first since the Justice Department's antitrust unit allowed the 1948 Paramount Consent Decrees to sunset in 2020. Said decree mandated that studios divest themselves of any theaters they may have owned.

The nearly three dozen dine-in Alamo Drafthouse theaters scattered around the country and known for their "cool vibe" will continue to operate under that brand, as will the chain's Fantastic Fest film festival held annually in Austin, per the AP. "We are beyond thrilled to join forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment to expand our company vision to be the best damn cinema that has ever, or will ever, exist now in ways we could only ever dream of," League said in a statement. (More Sony Pictures stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.