Have you ever read reports from Butt-Numb-A-Thon or Fantastic Fest or any special screening at Austin, Texas’ Alamo Drafthouse and said to yourself, ‘I wish there was one of those near me’?
This is your lucky day. Tim League, who founded the Alamo in 1997, has returned to his role as CEO of the larger brand. League stepped down five years ago when he sold the company, retaining ownership of three theaters in Austin. Over those five years Tim has really finessed and fine tuned what the Alamo experience is, creating a brand that is known nationally. And now it will be going national.
See, that’s Tim’s dream for the Alamo – to rewrite the movie-going experience in a town near you. That’s the big deal about his ascension to CEO, that he’s going to bring the Alamo – with its great food, fun programming and strict no-talking policy – to your city.
I don’t know what Tim’s timeline is, but I hope it’s aggressive. And I hope that Los Angeles is one of his first destinations.
Here’s the complete press release:
(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.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey