Major Theater Chain Shuts Down Five Locations Unexpectedly

By: Sam Watanuki | Published: Jun 10, 2024

Five Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and one in Minnesota have shut down unexpectedly. The closures are effective immediately, impacting the Richardson, Las Colinas, Lake Highlands, Dallas, Denton, and Woodbury locations.

The summer movie season, typically a busy period, has seen a slow start, contributing to this sudden decision.

Bankruptcy Filing

The franchise operator, Two is One, One is None LLC, is seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The company cited financial struggles due to the inability to recover pre-COVID guest counts and last year’s writers’ and actors’ strikes as significant factors.

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More than 600 employees are affected by this closure.

Financial Strain

The company revealed that paying franchise fees, which totaled around $3.7 million in 2023, significantly strained its finances. These fees were approximately 10% of the locations’ sales.

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The franchisee had been in operation for over 13 years but couldn’t sustain the financial burden any longer.

Operational Challenges

Two is One, One is None reported that contractual obligations forced them to support the most unprofitable locations.

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Despite infusing over $3.5 million into payroll and operations and seeking relief from Alamo Drafthouse to reduce fees and close non-profitable locations, these efforts were unsuccessful.

Impact on Employees

The sudden closure has left more than 600 employees jobless. The company stated they attempted to contact all impacted employees before the news became public.

An unemployed woman in a gray suit holds a cardboard sign that reads “Need a Job”

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This decision affects not only the staff but also the local film communities that rely on these theaters.

Broader Industry Trends

These closures are part of a larger trend of cinema shutdowns across the country. For example, National Amusements closed its theater in the Bronx, leaving the borough with only one multiplex for 1.7 million residents.

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This, in effect, creates “movie deserts” in various regions, where access to cinemas is becoming increasingly rare.


Alamo Drafthouse Response

Alamo Drafthouse expressed their disappointment but assured efforts to reopen in the affected cities. They emphasized that other locations continue to operate normally and they have plans for further expansion.

bankruptcy petition documents

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The company had previously filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but emerged and expanded since.


The Future of Alamo Drafthouse

Despite the closures, Alamo Drafthouse’s nationwide box office draw was up 25% from 2022, bringing in $134 million.

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The company has been seeking a buyer for months and continues to focus on expansion plans, hoping to recover from this setback.


Customer Concerns

Two is One, One is None recommended that “Season Pass and Victory Members and those guests with gift cards” contact Alamo Drafthouse in Austin for further assistance.

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This ensures that loyal customers can still find ways to enjoy the Alamo experience despite the closures.


Historical Context

Alamo Drafthouse has faced challenges in the past, including accusations of racism and sexism at one of its Kansas City locations.

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Despite these issues, the company has remained a beloved chain for its unique movie-going experience, and it continues to attract loyal customers nationwide.


Alamo's Statement

“We are deeply saddened to find it necessary to take this step,” the LLC said in a statement.

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“We are grateful to all our employees who put in the work, day in and day out, to produce a special movie-going experience.”


Looking Ahead

The closure of these six theaters is a significant blow to the Alamo Drafthouse chain, but the company is determined to bounce back.

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With continued support from customers and a strategic focus on expansion, Alamo Drafthouse aims to overcome these challenges and continue providing memorable movie experiences.