As told by ATXEquation student Eric Flores
Two hours at the Alamo Drafthouse and you’ve got all you need: a tasty dinner, a round of drinks, a box office movie, and an evening well spent. But it’s more than that—way more. Recently, members of my ATXequation class at St. Edward's University and I had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of their newest theater, the Ritz. There we meet with chief creative officer, Henri Mazza, who fancied name-dropping and sharing tales of memorable Drafthouse events. Besides making me completely hate my day job, Henri gave us an in-depth look at my favorite theater.
Over the past decade, the Alamo has grown tremendously. But what caused this growth? Most would venture to say that starting a theater could be dangerous territory with theater giants, Cinemark and Carmike practically monopolizing the market. Originally a second-run movie theater in Austin’s warehouse district, founders Tim and Karrie League were not afraid. They knew they, along with many others, loved movies but disliked all the negative things that could come with it—all the bullshit. Crying babies, talking, annoying advertisements, etc. So to distinguish themselves from the rest was to pay particular attention to this thing we like to call “the experience”. From an all day Lord of the Rings food and film pairing, to disco dancing Justin Timberlake sing-along’s, to Austin’s favorite movie mocking maestros, Master Pancake, the Drafthouse spares no expense at creating engaging events.
Because of their dedication to making the viewers experience as enjoyable as possible, its no wonder they were dubbed “#1 theater in America” (Entertainment Weekly) and “the nations #1 moviegoer destination” by Fandango. They are undoubtedly #1 in Austin’s book. Critics and cinephile’s alike will agree, The Alamo Drafthouse is one of the most innovative exhibitors in the country, and people love them for it.