Alamo Drafthouse, the Austin-based theater chain known for in-theater dining and curated screenings, is going digital. On Thursday, the company launched its own video on demand platform, succinctly named Alamo On Demand.
Customers can rent or buy films directly through the Alamo On Demand platform. The library is curated by members of Alamo’s staff, and runs the gamut from blockbusters whose releases were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic to indie films championed by Alamo staffers. As an example of the programming we can expect from Alamo On Demand, the site is currently featuring a restored and recut version of Apocalypse Now, Best Picture winner Parasite, and an indie comedy thriller called Butt Buy.
The Alamo On Demand platform seems like an expansion of the company’s “Alamo at Home” initiative, which offers online versions of popular programming, like the long-running Weird Wednesday series. Those curated screenings helped Alamo gain a cult following, and its an attitude that the company is bringing to its on-demand platform.
“Many of us learned about movies thanks to the staff picks at our local video stores. That’s the spirit of what we’re trying to do with Alamo On Demand,” says Henri Mazza, Vice President of Content, Sponsorship, and Events. “Even though we can’t gather in theaters right now, our programmers will still be curating new and classic films for our nationwide community of fellow movie lovers, and hosting conversations online as well.”
Like much of the entertainment industry, theater chains, including Alamo Drafthouse, have been facing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With most of its theaters completely shut down in accordance with social distancing guidelines, Alamo has furloughed much of its staff and on May 1 announced that it had sold its editorial arm, Birth.Movies.Death. “[I]n these shuttered days and beyond,” says Alamo founder Tim League, “these rentals and purchases help support your neighborhood theater.”