Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy, scraps Orlando cinema

Construction of Orlando’s Alamo Drafthouse had already begun, as shown in this photo from March 1, 2020.

From The Orlando Weekly, March 3, 2021

“Remember the Alamo” will now haunt Orlando almost as eerily as it does San Antonio, after the Texas-based movie chain today announced it is scrapping plans for an Orlando theater. The cancellation is part of a pending bankruptcy and sale to its senior lender group, including Altamont Capital Partners, funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC, Alamo founder Tim League, and other investors.

Alamo Drafthouse, founded in 1997, had planned to open its first Florida location last fall. Construction of the dine-in cinema began about a year ago at the intersection of Daryl Carter Parkway and Regency Village Drive, as part of the Vineland Pointe shopping and dining center, about two miles southwest of SeaWorld. But the pandemic, and now the bankruptcy and sale, have permanently ended those plans. The company also plans to permanently close three existing theaters: the historic Ritz in downtown Austin, Texas, plus cinemas in Kansas City, Mo., and New Braunfels, Texas. But the overall company hopes to survive and prosper.

“We’re excited to work with our partners at Altamont Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group to continue on [a] path of growth on the other side of the pandemic,” said Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor in a prepared statement. “And we want to ensure the public that we expect no disruption to our business and no impact on franchise operations, employees and customers in our locations that are currently operating.”

The Orlando cinema was to have had 10 screens, with a total of 942 seats, according to the company’s original announcement in 2019, in addition to the ability to project 35mm film.

Perhaps John Greenleaf Whitter said it better than any press release: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’”

For more information on the company’s bankruptcy and sale, see The New York Times.

© 2021 Orlando Weekly / MeierMovies, LLC