Posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 by Germain Lussier
For the past decade, film screenings at the Alamo Drafthouses in Austin, Texas have gained legendary status in geek culture. Stars show up to premiere films there, incredible posters are designed for many of the screenings, cult classics are paired around specific foods or themed events, not to mention it’s the birthplace of the Rolling Roadshow and the host venue for South by Southwest, Fantastic Fest, Harry Knowles’ Butt-Numb-A-Thon and was recently named “Best Overall Theatrical Experience” by Fandango. And now, that unique brand of incredible film going experience is on its way to both New York and Los Angeles.
Tim League, the founder and CEO of the Drafthouse, said that plans are in the works to bring Drafthouses to New York City and Los Angeles, the two hubs of the film world, “within the next year, year-and-a-half.” With the Drafthouse beginning to distribute movies, having theaters in those markets would be a major plus.
In an interview with Cinematical, League says that the company already has a franchise model in place (they already have multiple locations all over Texas and even one in Virginia) but that these two venues would be “in house expansion.” That leads one to believe that he will personally over see them.
As someone who has traveled to Austin specifically to visit the Drafthouse on multiple occasions, I agree that the experience is one that more people deserve to have. I regularly check their website to look at awesome screenings I’m missing and, sometimes, they are so good they make screenings in Los Angeles pale in comparison. One that comes to mind was a recent screening of The Goonies where audiences members were encouraged to scream quotes at the screen. And there’s no doubt the Baby Ruth’s were plentiful.
However, the question then becomes will the quantity hurt the quality? Obviously, the staff that League has around him do an amazing job in and around Austin, but will that skill and passion transfer to the people who eventually will be running these satellite theaters? And will having more Drafthouses make the experience of going to one seem less special? Time will tell.