The spotlights will remain dark at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema location in New Braunfels, as company officials announced Wednesday that the theater’s temporary closure will now become permanent.
The Austin-based dine-in theater chain made the announcement online Wednesday morning, citing the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Last March, we temporarily closed Marketplace along with every other Alamo Drafthouse location,” a post on the theater’s website said. “Nearly a year later, we’re incredibly sad to tell you that because of the ongoing impact of COVID, we will not be reopening Marketplace.”
Alamo Drafthouse closed its doors in March 2020 when many businesses were forced to close due to the pandemic. After Gov. Greg Abbott allowed theaters to reopen under specific guidelines, the New Braunfels location remained closed.
A promotional poster for “Wonder Woman 1984” with its original 2020 release date was still hanging on the wall
outside the theater on Wednesday.
The announcement came as the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and entered into a purchase agreement with new partners, according to Variety.
The bankruptcy filing comes as part of an asset purchase agreement with San Francisco Bay area-based Altamont Capital Partners, a previous investor in the company, as well as affiliates of New York-based Fortress Investment Group.
According to the Variety story, the company says operations at its other theaters will continue as normal and the Chapter 11 process and sale will give it the capital it needs to continue operating as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Braunfels location isn’t the only one going dark permanently. The downtown Ritz location in Austin is also shutting its doors, as well as Mainstreet in Kansas City, Missouri.
Patrick Wiggins, president of Wiggins Commercial, which handles leasing at New Braunfels Marketplace, said the cinema industry has been hit as hard as any industry by the pandemic, but with the increased vaccine rollout, high-quality product on the horizon and pent up demand, there is reason for optimism.
“Though Alamo Drafthouse just filed for bankruptcy, they have had their doors closed for almost a year now due to the pandemic,” Wiggins said. “It has been rumored for some months now that they were going to be filing for bankruptcy at some point in the near future, so this latest news came as no surprise. The landlord expects to replace Alamo Drafthouse with another high-end, first-run movie operator in the near future.”
Wiggins said he could not disclose information about the parties involved in a potential replacement for Alamo Drafthouse.
Alamo Drafthouse is inviting the audience to follow the company to its other locations in Austin and San Antonio.
“To our team members past and present, our endless thanks and gratitude. It’s been your passion, hard work, and dedication that made Marketplace a unique and wonderful home for film lovers in New Braunfels,” the website posting said.
Michael Meek, the interim CEO of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, said the now year-long pandemic has impacted all businesses and some more than others.
“In-person type venues like movie theatres have been very negatively impacted,” Meek said. “Hopefully, as the distribution of the various vaccines continues, we’ll see a return of the public to businesses that depend on on-site patronage. The Marketplace is a great place for New Braunfelsers to gather for a variety of reasons. I am confident management will continue to add quality tenants in the future.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League as a single-screen repertory theater in Austin and has since grown to more than 40 locations.
Alamo is one of several movie theater chains that have struggled to get people in seats during the COVID-19 pandemic, as many people have chosen to stay home and watch their favorites through online streaming services.
Dallas-based Studio Movie Grill of Dallas filed for bankruptcy protection in October, and AMC was in danger of bankruptcy last year until it received a $917 million infusion from investors.