Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse, which has gone from one theater to 28 locations since 1997, is unveiling a series of commemorative events to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Variety has learned exclusively.
“There is no better way for us to celebrate two decades of existence than sharing and celebrating movies we love,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO. “That’s what our company is all about, and that’s what Alamo20 is all about.”
The original Alamo Drafthouse was a single-screen theater showing second-run titles that had been converted from an old warehouse. The promise to patrons was “good food, good beer and good film, all at the same place.”
The location gained notice quickly with Austin players such as “Dazed and Confused” director Richard Linklater and Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News. Within its first year the venue was playing host to film premieres and hosting events such as Quentin Tarantino’s five-day screenings of exploitation titles from his personal collection.
The first anniversary event took place May 25 at a reunion-style celebration at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, just blocks from where League and his wife opened their first theater. Current and former employees and a select few old-guard customers gathered for a surprise evening with director Edgar Wright and a sneak screening of his film “Baby Driver.”
Alamo Drafthouse is planning a July 10 exclusive advance screening of “War for the Planet of the Apes” with a special simulcast presentation live from the red carpet premiere in Manhattan plus a Q&A by director Matt Reeves along with stars Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, and Joe Letteri.
Alamo Drafthouse has also unveiled a December event dubbed “Bill Pullman and Jared Moshe’s Essential Western Marathon” that will include a sneak preview of Pullman’s “The Ballad of Lefty Brown,” which premiered at SXSW in March, along with three “essential” Westerns selected by Pullman and directed by Moshe with a simulcast of conversations with the duo after each film.
The chain is also launching a 30th anniversary touring reunion of “Monster Squad” in August with stars Andre Gower, Ryan Lambert, and Ashley Bank. It’s also scheduled an Aug. 22 event called “Terror Tuesday: Effects” to celebrate the American Genre Film Archive release of “Effects” with stars Tom Savini and Joe Pilato, producer-star John Harrison, director Dusty Nelson, and editor-producer Pat Buba for a live event at the Alamo Drafthouse that will be simulcast into participating Alamo Drafthouse locations.
Alamo Drafthouse will offer a special line of 20th anniversary apparel, kicking off with the 2017 Bada– Cinema t-shirt featuring Pam Grier, star of “Jackie Brown,” “Coffy,” and “Foxy Brown.” A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this shirt will go to Project Angel Heart, a Denver-based charitable organization Grier has been working with for years.
The chain has also launched a commemorative beer dubbed “Action! Anniversary Ale” with six different collectible designs.
Earlier this month, Alamo Drafthouse announced it will open its first Los Angeles location in 2018 in the downtown area.