This time last year, the future of movie theaters was looking downright apocalyptic: Auditoriums sat empty, rents and overhead continued to add up and major blockbusters found their way to streaming.
Now, with vaccinations leading to eased restrictions, the box-office has sprung back to life as A Quiet Place Part II leads the charge into the once-again lucrative summer movie season. And while some theater chains are seeing stocks values rise after a grim 2020, Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse is expanding.
Per Deadline, the reversal of fortune comes three months after the Fantastic Fest founders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed three of its theaters in Austin, Kansas City and New Braunfels, Texas.
People are flocking back to Alamo locations for the more immersive theatrical experiences that made the chain beloved across the US, complete with beer and cocktails, elevated food, filmmaker talks and more. The chain’s LA location — which opened a year before the pandemic — reported all shows across the Memorial Day holiday had sold out.
Now, the Drafthouse is expanding its footprint to five new locations, including a museum and a Wu-Tang-affiliated bar. Here are the details.
The Manhattan location of the Drafthouse has been a long time coming, and is expected to open in the Financial District this fall. The 14-screen multiplex will house a bar in addition to The Press Room, a museum featuring “an astounding collection that will serve as a museum of film and advertising history,” according to a statement issued by executive chairman Tim League and carried by Variety. The complex will also include an event space and bar.
Staten Island, New York
Announced back in 2017, details are light on the upcoming Staten Island location, but the news that is out there is big: Along with an estimated 10 screens, the complex will include the Flying Guillotine bar.
Designed in collaboration with Staten Island royalty RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, the bar was initially set to open in 2019. It’s named after the Shaw Brothers classic Master of the Flying Guillotine — a mainstay of the Alamo repertory program and a film frequently sampled across the Wu-Tang diaspora — and will function as a celebration of kung fu history evoking the old-school Hong Kong drinking dens. A 360-degree tour offers a glimpse of the plans.
The theater will also include a video store curated by RZA and is expected to open in 2022 at an undisclosed date.
Not a lot of details are available for Missouri’s inaugural Drafthouse franchise, but the 10-screen outpost should be open in Spring of 2022 in the developing City Foundry project in Midtown, which will also include open retail spaces and a food hall. The project was announced in 2018.
Washington, DC and Arlington, VA
The DC area is getting two new Drafthouse theaters, each with nine screens. The NE DC location is projected to open in winter, while Arlington’s outpost will roll film in the spring of 2022.
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