Movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse has temporarily closed all six locations in Dallas and two venues in Omaha, citing the lack of new major movies to draw crowds.
“Due to a lack of upcoming major studio films, some of our franchise locations have opted to temporarily close until a consistent schedule of new releases resumes. We are working alongside all of our franchise operators to help them strategize and restructure as the COVID-19 era rolls on, and we continue to be optimistic about Alamo Drafthouse’s future,” a spokesperson for Alamo Drafthouse said in a statement. “There are no plans to close theaters across the brand and we continue to reopen new theaters, welcoming guests with a wide range of programming options and affordable private theater rentals.”
Alamo Drafthouse operates 41 theaters in 10 states. Within the last few days, new Alamo cinemas in Raleigh, N.C. have opened, as well as a third location in Austin.
Alamo is far from the only cinema chain that had to shutter venues after reopening. This week, Cineworld, the movie theater operator that owns Regal in the U.S., closed all 536 locations. In response, rivals AMC and Cinemark issued statements saying they don’t intend to close any U.S. venues. Independently owned cinemas, especially those in the suburbs, also had to close their doors again or reduce hours of operation during the pandemic.
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Upon reopening at the end of the summer, Alamo Drafthouse unveiled detailed plans to keep customers safe, including implementing enhanced cleaning protocols and enforcing physical distancing between seats. But no cleaning procedures can make up for the fact that studios aren’t debuting new buzzy movies. Recently, Disney moved “Soul” to Disney Plus, while Denis Villenueve’s big-budget adaptation of “Dune” and Bond sequel “No Time to Die” were pushed to 2021. As it stands, “Wonder Woman 1984” on Dec. 25 is the lone potential blockbuster left on calendars this year. Numerous smaller movies, like “Promising Young Woman,” “War With Grandpa” and romance drama “2 Hearts,” are still expected to hit the big screen before the year ends.
In the meantime, Alamo Drafthouse has implemented exclusive programming to entice patrons. Among the incentives are “Dismember the Alamo,” consisting of four secret horror screenings throughout the month of October, and “Trick or Treat Cinema,” with discounted family-friendly Halloween films. They’re also offering private theater rentals. For $150, guests can invite up to 30 friends to rent out an entire theater.