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Sony Pictures buys Alamo Drafthouse dine-in movie theater chain

Sony Pictures announced Wednesday it will acquire Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for an undisclosed amount, making it the first studio in more than 75 years to own a movie theater chain. Photo courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Sony Pictures announced Wednesday it will acquire Alamo Drafthouse Cinema for an undisclosed amount, making it the first studio in more than 75 years to own a movie theater chain. Photo courtesy of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

June 12 (UPI) -- Sony Pictures has become the first film studio in 75 years to own a theater chain with its acquisition of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Sony Pictures announced its purchase of the dine-in movie theaters Wednesday in a post on X.

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"A great day for moviegoers who enjoy combining their love of film and food! We're thrilled to announce that Sony Pictures has acquired Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, preserving the pioneering dine-in movie theater experience under the new Sony Pictures Experiences Division."

Alamo Drafthouse, which is the seventh-largest movie theater chain in North America with 35 cinemas, is known for pairing cocktails and an extensive food menu with film.

"Forget dinner and a movie, it's all about dinner AT the movie," according to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's website, where the multi-course menu includes burgers, pizzas, salads and warm chocolate chip cookies, along with 30 craft beers and other cocktails.

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Alamo Drafthouse, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has struggled to find a buyer. Sony Pictures purchased the theater chain from owners Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and founder Tim League. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Alamo Drafthouse Chief Executive Officer Michael Kustermann will continue to run the dine-in movie theater chain and will report to Ravi Ahuja, president and CEO of the newly formed Sony Pictures Experiences Division.

"We look forward to building upon the innovations that have made Alamo Drafthouse successful and will, of course, continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors," Ahuja said in a statement.

Up until four years ago, the U.S. Justice Department had banned film distributors from owning cinema chains under what was known as the Paramount Consent Decree of 1948. Sony will become the first studio in more than 75 years to own a theater chain.

"We know how important this is to Sony, and it serves as further evidence of their commitment to the theatrical experience," said Kustermann. "Together we will continue to innovate and bring exciting new opportunities for our teammates and moviegoers alike."

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