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Sony Pictures is buying Alamo Drafthouse

New York CNN  —  Sony Pictures Entertainment has bought dine-in movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse, the companies announced Wednesday. Alamo Drafthouse, headquartered in Austin, Texas, has 35 theaters in 25 metro areas. It rose to popularity and has a passionate fanbase due to its dine-in and cocktail menus and its reputation as an oasis for film buffs with its strict no-talking rules. But despite being a fan favorite, it was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. It filed for bankruptcy in March 2021 and began closing locations. Business began rebounding and last year it saw a 30% jump in box office revenue from the year before. Sony said in a press release that the movie theater chain will be managed under a new division, Sony Pictures Experiences. Alamo Drathouse’s CEO Michael Kustermann will remain in his position, but will now report to Ravi Ahuja, President and COO of SPE. While other Hollywood studios have jumped into streaming, Sony Pictures CEO and chairman Tom Rothman has expressed his commitment to movie theaters, according to various trade publications including The Hollywood Reporter. Sony Pictures touted its other spaces in the press release, such as Wonderverse, an immersive entertainment space, in Chicago and a Wheel of Fortune LIVE! traveling tour. “The deal reinforces SPE’s long-held commitment to theatrical exhibition and continued initiatives in experiential entertainment,” the press release said. Sony acquired Alamo from owners Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and founder Tim League. Also included in the acquisition was Alamo Drafthouse’s film festival, Fantastic Fest, which focuses on different genre films from horror to science fiction.