Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain sold to Sony

(UPDATED 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12)

The Alamo Drafthouse movie theater chain — which includes locations in Ashburn and elsewhere around Northern Virginia — has been sold to Sony Pictures.

The news was shared by media outlets nationwide Wednesday. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal covers 35 Alamo locations scattered around the country in 14 states.

Locally, the Alamo Drafthouse is one of the main anchor tenants in the One Loudoun lifestyle center off Loudoun County Parkway.

Managers there stress that they are part of a separate franchise group and plan to continue to operate business as usual.

“I think this is exciting news. Sony is a company that is already passionate about the theatrical and the entertainment industry and I’m really optimistic about this acquisition,” said Kajun Waybright, the director of programming and marketing for the group which includes five area Alamo locations.

“We will continue to operate those five to the same standards we always have. All of the individuality and independence at our theaters will remain the same,” Waybright continued.

Besides the Ashburn location, the other theaters in the group include the Alamo Drafthouses in Woodbridge, Crystal City, D.C., and Charlottesville.

The Alamo brand has made a name for itself not only for its in-theater food and beverage service, but also with its movie marathons, its special movie events, and its showing of classic, cult, and foreign films alongside major Hollywood studio releases.

No changes to the way Alamo operates nationally are expected initially. Sony reportedly isn’t even going to add its name to the theater chain. The brand’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.

One interesting historical note — for some 70 years, movie studios were banned from owning theater chains. Those rules were rescinded in 2020 and — with this deal — Sony is the first major studio to venture back into the ownership of a major cinema brand. ”

(Image at top: Alamo Drafthouse – One Loudoun)