The Troubled Alamo Drafthouse Will Reopen Theaters This Friday

Published on August 18, 2020

The Alamo Drafthouse is reopening its doors on Friday, August 21st. Throughout the country on Friday, over a thousand theaters will open where they’re permitted. There’s a couple of new releases coming up that the Drafthouse and other chains will show audiences, including The New Mutants, Bill & Ted Face the Music, and soon enough, Tenet

The Drafthouse’s Reopening 

Along with every other theater in the United States, the Drafthouse closed back in March due to COVID-19. The chain will reopen theaters on August 21st and even more of their theaters on August 28th. Don’t expect their New York City location to open, though, since the city rightly so doesn’t see movie theaters as essential during a pandemic. In a statement, Drafthouse’s new CEO, Shelli Taylor, said: 

“We are incredibly excited to welcome everyone back to Alamo Drafthouse. TENET, THE NEW MUTANTS and BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC are made for the big screen experience. We’ve all dearly missed going to the movies, and with our many enhanced safety protocols we feel that we can come together again confidently and securely.” 

Wear The Mask

Theaters in the United States are enforcing masks. According to the Drafthouse’s press release, masks are required. Not only that, but the theater chain is also running a film series focused on masks:

MASKS! Masks have been a ubiquitous part of our reality for the past five months, essential for slowing the spread of Coronavirus and mandated at Alamo Drafthouse theaters. But masks have also been a staple of cinema since the invention of celluloid, and this September Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating our favorite masked heroes and villains across a variety of genres, including BATMAN (1989), SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, SET IT OFF, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, THE MASK OF ZORRO, and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

The Toxic Alamo 

The Alamo Drafthouse and, more specifically, their employees have had a terrible last few years. The pandemic made a bad situation worse for the chain. Owned by Tim League, the popular theater chain is often accused of enabling a toxic environment defined by sexual assault and harassment. The company prides itself on being a haven for movie lovers, but they’ve also been home to predators. The owners, according to former employees, did not take substantial enough action to clean house and provide safety. Years ago, League and his Drafthouse promised to do better, but a recent story came out alleging they haven’t.

The Most Recent Accusations 

The Alamo Drafthouse has 41 locations in 10 states in North America, including Kansas City, Missouri. Only a week ago, a city paper called The Pitch covered the abuse going on in their city at the theater. 30 employees of the theater participated in the story. According to the piece, employees were sexually and physically abused by management. The company even tried to get employees to sign NDAs, following major furloughs and layoffs at the theater chain. There were allegations of racism as well. The theater has a strict no talking and cell phone policy, but staffers believed management mainly targeted black audience members.

The Alamo Ain’t Fun Anymore

Going to a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse used to be a mostly great experience. The quality sound and presentation, the tasty food and drinks, the atmosphere of the theater, and even the friendly employees — it was a good theater to visit. Despite the distraction of waiters running and whispering all over the place, it was a far above average experience at a theater. Now, not so much. The Drafthouse is reopening their doors Friday, but in addition to the pandemic, it’s not a theater that’s exciting to visit anymore. After years of saddening allegations against Almost Drafthouse, its welcoming and movie nerd-friendly image is long gone.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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