Hearne: Alamo Drafthouse Splashes Down @ AMC Mainstreet

With very little fanfare, Alamo Drafthouse got the keys to AMC’s Mainstreet movie kingdom Thursday…

And to those who may have been anticipating a seamless transition, think again. Rather than rocking it right out of the gate, the Alamo opted to quietly shut things down for a spell. No press releases, no ads in the newspaper, just a brief statement on its new Facebook page:

"Phase one is complete. Old logos are down and the keys are in our hands! We’ll be closed for a few days, but not long at all."

Add to that a blog entry from an Alamoan grousing about the 12 hour drive to KC from Austin for a first-ever visit and plan for staffers to reside here two to three months while taking on the "crazy and daunting task" of converting the Mainstreet and implementing a new food and drink menu.

Remember what I told you about Alamo having to retrofit 80 percent of the Mainstreet’s downstairs (431 seats) to food and beverage service readiness? Apparently that’s the "daunting" part, the Alamo blogger notes.

And it won’t happen anytime soon, not before September anyway.

"Adding full food service to all screens – there’s food and beverage service in three of the six theaters already – is going to require some renovations, and we’d hate to shut down for that right when one of the greatest films of the year almost certainly (The Dark Knight Rises), is about to hit movie screens."

The $64 million question: How much will it cost and how many seats will be lost adding tables and service aisles?

"When you have an outlay of $30 million, there’s just no way AMC or anybody can make money with only 500 seats, even if you sell a shitload of booze," says KCC movie guy Jack Poessiger.

Can Alamo strike black ink with so few seats with its cache and fierce no talking / no texting policies?

"I don’t think it can," Poessiger says.

That said, AMC’s recent redo of its Ward Parkway has sent ticket sales soaring, Poessiger says.

"They lost half of their seats when AMC converted it recently to nicer seats and more legroom and they still don’t have tables and room for serving food in the theater," he says. "But their grosses have been going up since they did that. So they have less seats and are doing more business."

The jury’s out on how many seats the Mainstreet will lose but, "I just can’t imagine them giving up more than 100 seats to do all that," Poessiger says. "Because that would dig them in even deeper in terms of the theater’s financial situation."

The bottom line on the Alamo retrofit:

"They’ll have to find a way to do it to keep the most seats, because they’re already down below the minimum seating for a typical sixplex," Poessiger says. "It’s just not economically feasible. They must know something we don’t know, but it won’t be easy if they take anymore seats out of that complex. But they’ve done so well in their other locations, they must know something. They must know the secret to success."

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9 Responses to Hearne: Alamo Drafthouse Splashes Down @ AMC Mainstreet

  1. Super Dave says:

    Ok Hearne we know you hate Alamo so what every few days are you going to bag on them?

    You know they will either fail or make it who knows it works else where so maybe they will come and show us how it is done. Besides Hearne you have no idea how a movie complex is ran since you are to busy texting and reading messages to have a clue what is going on around you.

  2. smartman says:

    Did you hear the one about
    A blogger, a travel agent and a theater owner were on a cruise ship, when the devil shows up. The devil says all three of you are going to hell but I’ll give you a chance to save yourself. Throw something overboard. I’ll give it a minute to sink but if I can find it you’re coming to hell with me. The blogger reaches in his pocket, finds a penny and tosses it. A minute passes, the devil jumps in and less than a minute later returns and says, here’s your penny. You lose. The travel agent found a peanut in his pocket, tossed it, and sure enough the devil returned to the deck and said, soon you too will be dry roasted. You lose. Then the theater owner tosses something in, it plops loudly, the devil notes the location, waits a minute and goes in search. Ten minutes pass before the devil returns and says well I guess you win and then asks, What did you throw in? The travel agent replies with a big shit eating grin, an Alka Seltzer!

  3. harley says:

    uh..smartman
    punch line is wrong…you got travel agent and theatre owner confused. that’s okay…we all
    make mistakes

  4. Beeno says:

    do they allow you to snort cocaine during the movie?

  5. katie s. says:

    grousing?
    I read that same blog entry, and the writer was talking about how exciting this adventure was. They in fact they were so glad they had done it, and that they were excited to embark on the project. And the blog wasn’t unsigned, the poster’s name was at the top. Great reading skills, duder.

  6. kcobserver says:

    Gee, you think . . . ?
    So, the business experts who successfully run the Alamo Drafthouse chain have no idea what they are getting into. Why in the world didn’t they first consult international business and finance expert Jack Poessinger? He has been right here all the time, critiquing movies, being a spectator on the sidelines of the movie biz. I’ll bet the honchos at Alamo are kicking themselves right now.

    Hearne, can’t you go any further for an opinion than one of your own contributors? What’s next? Hearne’s take on the movies Jack reviews?

    I’m done with this site.

  7. smartman says:

    @harley
    Thanks buddy. Guess I shouldn’t type a joke and stick needles in my Jerry Sandusky voodoo doll at the same time. For that astute catch Hearne should give you two tickets to see the Scissor Sisters so you can bust a move on the dance, er, uh piss and feces infested mulch floor at the Crossroads.

  8. Super Dave says:

    Oh kcobserver
    You know as well as the rest of us you will be back because we all don’t want to miss a single day of this train wreck. Many believe Hearne will go down in flames of his own doing and Glazer will return to cross bar hotel it’s just a matter of when.

  9. Hearne says:

    Clue in, Jack’s movie reviewing schtick is…
    merely a sideline. He’s been in the movie industry as exec running theaters and marketing them for decades.

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