Sony buys Alamo Drafthouse: Austin moviegoers react to acquisition

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded as a single screen, family-owned repertory theater in 1997 in Austin.

"The inside is very vintage. It is old school. They haven't modernized it," said moviegoer Alyssa Cappelletti. "When you are in there you feel like you are maybe in the 80s or 90s movies."

"We love Alamo, especially in Austin," said moviegoer Bethany Hausen. "I think that is the number one theater everyone goes to."

On Wednesday, the Alamo Drafthouse announced Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired the chain of theaters under a new division called Sony Pictures Experience. Included in the deal is the genre film festival Fantastic Fest.

Movie goers weigh the pros and cons of new ownership.

"I feel like anytime a bigger business is taking over a smaller one there can definitely be a lot of cons. It might not be the same anymore. They might make a lot of changes," said Hausen. "It might not be as old school and old-fashioned. I think if we are keeping it in business, it is a bigger pro than any con they can face." 

The theater filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2021, after the COVID-19 pandemic, and emerged from bankruptcy in May 2021.

"It would be great to keep it going for sure," Cappelletti said. "A lot of movie theaters don't have the dining available, so this offers a more unique experience than a traditional movie theater."


There are five locations in Austin and 35 across North America. 

According to the company, the name will not change, and its headquarters will remain here in Austin.

"Keep it how it is," Cappelletti said. "I mean, if there are old things that need to be fixed up, but the overall style of it, keep it as it is. I don't see the need to touch it," Cappelletti said.