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Sony Acquires Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Expands into Theater Ownership

 |  June 13, 2024

Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has acquired Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. This acquisition marks Sony’s entrance into the theater ownership space, following a recent legal shift that allows movie studios to own theater chains.

Alamo Drafthouse, a renowned cinema chain known for its unique dining-and-watching experience and strict movie-watching policies, will join Sony under the newly established Sony Pictures Experiences division. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Despite the change in ownership, all 35 Alamo Drafthouse locations across North America are expected to continue operations as usual for the foreseeable future.

Michael Kustermann, the current CEO of Alamo Drafthouse, will retain his position and report directly to Ravi Ahuja, the president and COO of SPE. In a statement, Ahuja emphasized Sony’s commitment to maintaining Alamo’s established practices and diversity of content, stating, “We will continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors.”

This acquisition includes not only the theaters but also the popular film festival, Fantastic Fest, which has become a staple event for genre film enthusiasts.

The purchase follows the 2020 repeal of the Paramount Consent Decrees, a set of antitrust laws from 1948 that previously prevented studios from owning theaters to avoid monopolistic practices. The recent legal change reflects the evolving nature of the film industry, where traditional boundaries between production and distribution are increasingly blurred.

Founded in 1997, Alamo Drafthouse has grown to encompass 35 theaters in 25 cities, offering a distinctive blend of cinema and culinary experience that has garnered a dedicated following. With this acquisition, Sony Pictures Entertainment aims to leverage Alamo’s unique brand and operational model to enhance its direct consumer engagement and expand its footprint in the theatrical exhibition space.

Source: IGN