Tim League

We’ve called The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema the coolest movie theater in the world. The original Austin-based movie theater was created by an awesome man named Tim League. In July 2004, Tim and Karrie League sold the brand, intellectual property and rights to all future Alamo Drafthouse expansion, but retained ownership of the Austin locations (Village, Lamar, Downtown). Anyone who has ever been to any of the non Tim League-owned/operated locations will attest that it doesn’t have the same feel, experience, or level of quality.

Good news: Tim League is replacing John Martin as CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema brand, and will “assume brand and creative leadership for the company after a five-year hiatus.”

“The Alamo Drafthouse has a unique operating strategy different from any other exhibitor in the market today,” League says. “We have a direct relationship with our audiences, are intolerant of advertisements before movies, offer fresh food and demand technical excellence. I envision the Alamo Drafthouse making a significant change in what it means to go the movies.”

This is great news for any town with an Alamo Drafthouse brand cinema. Now if only League could open a Drafhouse in Hollywood. Don’t get me wrong, I love the New Beverly Cinema — but it lacks the comfortable seating and in theater food options of the Drafthouse. I’d love to see what League could do with his signature events in a town where prints and special appearances from actors and directors would be a short car ride away.Read the full press release after the jump.


Alamo Drafthouse Founder Returns to Spotlight as New CEO

Cinema-Eatery Concept Creator Tim League Returns to Roots, Looks to Expand Cinema Programming to New Markets

(Austin, Texas)—The creator of what Texas Monthly has dubbed “the most important film festival in America” announces he is returning to his starring role as CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema brand, effective immediately. Tim League, founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and mastermind behind the nationally acclaimed Fantastic Fest film festival, will assume brand and creative leadership for the company after a five-year hiatus. He will replace former Alamo Drafthouse CEO John Martin. Martin is transitioning to the role of area developer and plans to continue the expansion of the concept outside of Texas.

Brand expansion has been a key growth strategy for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema since League founded the concept in 1997. Opening as a single-screen theater in downtown Austin, Texas, the company has grown to include nine locations throughout Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Texas and Winchester, Va., for a combined total of 55 screens with an average unit sales volume of $5.8 million per location. Average weekly same-store-sales grew 11.5% in 2009 versus 2008. Named best theater in America by Entertainment Weekly, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema built a reputation not only by combining food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star-studded special events.

And it’s those special events—such as the fantasy, horror and genre-driven film festival Fantastic Fest—that League hopes to give more national play.

“We are looking at expanding some of the signature programming that has been developed over the past few years in Austin and expanding it to our franchised locations,” League says. “There is the possibility of expanding programming opportunities and leveraging those events in new markets.”

League, 39, sold the company in 2004, but retained ownership and operation of three Alamo Drafthouse locations in Austin.

“When I decided to sell the company in 2004, I was more focused on the hands-on development of programming, preshow entertainment and the nuances of the Alamo experience. I have since grown the infrastructure of my creative team, and I feel ready to share the results of our Austin ‘incubator’ with the rest of the country,” he says.

In returning to his role as CEO, he will oversee the programming, creative vision and the next wave of expansion for the company. Currently, Alamo Drafthouse has additional locations under development in San Antonio and Austin and is actively seeking expansion beyond Texas and Virginia.

“The Alamo Drafthouse has a unique operating strategy different from any other exhibitor in the market today,” League says. “We have a direct relationship with our audiences, are intolerant of advertisements before movies, offer fresh food and demand technical excellence. I envision the Alamo Drafthouse making a significant change in what it means to go the movies.”

The new CEO adds that there has never been a more opportune time for his return to the company spotlight—especially since the movie industry clocked a record year of $10.6 billion tickets sales in 2009. His new role will allow him to capitalize on a fresh-styled cinema experience that is fun and, well—fantastic.

“The time is right to expand the Alamo brand and its unique programming to the appropriate markets across the United States,” League says.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is currently seeking qualified franchise area-development partners in select markets. For more information about Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, please visit www.drafthouse.com.

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