Connect with us

Entertainment

Sony Pictures buys dine-in movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse

Published

on

Sony Pictures buys dine-in movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse

Sony Pictures Entertainment has purchased Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the innovative dine-in movie theater chain known as a prime cinephile destination, including at its location in downtown Los Angeles.

The Culver City-based studio said Wednesday that the quirky, Austin, Texas-based exhibition company will be housed under its newly established Sony Pictures Experiences division, helmed by Alamo Drafthouse’s Michael Kustermann. Kustermann will continue his role as chief executive of the cinema chain.

Sony did not disclose the price of the deal but promised to “preserve Alamo Drafthouse’s distinctive movie-dining experience.” The exhibitor — which boasts 35 locations in major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Austin and New York — is known for serving food and craft beer at its theaters.

It’s also famed for its strict no-texting policy and its special screenings, which made it a haven for movie buffs. The chain regularly hosts themed “movie parties” inspired by certain titles. (Upcoming movie-party screenings at the Los Angeles venue include 2007’s “Hot Fuzz,” 1984’s “Purple Rain” and 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz.”)

Advertisement

“Alamo Drafthouse’s differentiated movie-going experience, admired brand and devoted community fit well with this vision,” said Ravi Ahuja, president and COO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, in a statement. “We look forward to building upon the innovations that have made Alamo Drafthouse successful and will, of course, continue to welcome content from all studios and distributors.”

Alamo Drafthouse says it is the seventh-largest theater chain in North America. In a limited sense, Sony’s acquisition of Alamo is a flashback to Hollywood’s Golden Age, when the major studios also owned and operated their own theater chains, thereby controlling production, distribution and exhibition.

This vertical integration system triggered a major antitrust case that resulted in a 1948 U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively broke up the studio oligopolies. In a series of settlements known as the Paramount decrees, the studios agreed to divest their theater assets.

During the Trump administration, however, the Justice Department sunset the decrees, determining them to be out of date.

Today, entertainment companies control production, distribution and exhibition in a different sense: Most of the major studios’ parent companies own streaming services. Sony is the only top studio without a mass-market streamer to compete with Netflix, though it offers some niche direct-to-consumer services, including anime outlet Crunchyroll.

Advertisement

Restrictions on studios owning theaters thawed in the decades after the decrees.

In the early 1980s, Columbia Pictures (now Sony Pictures) acquired a minority stake in Walter Reade Organization. Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. owned the Mann theater chain for many years. Disney has long operated Hollywood Boulevard’s El Capitan, where it screens its movies and hosts special events. Netflix acquired the famed Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard from American Cinematheque, as well as the Bay Theater in Pacific Palisades, where it also screens its own movies.

Under Sony, Alamo Drafthouse will keep all of its existing locations, including its only theater in California, which opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2019.

The studio acquired the exhibitor from private equity firms Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and founder Tim League, who launched Alamo Drafthouse with a single-screen Austin repertory theater with his wife, Karrie, in 1997.

Like many theater operators, Alamo Drafthouse struggled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shuttered cinemas for months. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2021, citing pandemic-related woes.

Advertisement

It emerged from bankruptcy under the ownership of a group of senior creditors, which included Altamont and Fortress.

“We are excited to make history with Sony Pictures Entertainment and have found the right home and partner for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema,” Kustermann said in a statement. “We were created by film lovers for film lovers. We know how important this is to Sony, and it serves as further evidence of their commitment to the theatrical experience.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Movie Reviews

Clear Cut (2024) – Movie Review

Published

on

Clear Cut (2024) – Movie Review

Clear Cut, 2024.

Directed by Brian Skiba.
Starring Clive Standen, Tom Welling, Stephen Dorff, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Metcalfe, Lochlyn Munro, Lucy Martin, Chelsey Reist, Tom Stevens, and Mike Dopud.

SYNOPSIS:

A team of loggers discover a meth cook site in the middle of the forest and are forced to fight for their lives while being hunted by a drug cartel.

Advertisement

With a title such as Clear Cut, one might think director Brian Skiba is trying to be cutely vague and intentionally jumbling since his narrative distractingly jumps back and forth in time with no grace. The reality is that what the film is trying to do with its story is fairly obvious after roughly the second flashback, executed with such outright poor editing technique (Skiba also performs those duties) that one sits there in shock at the ineptitude when it cuts back to a scene with Alec Baldwin who was recently killed at the beginning.

Dead characters appearing in flashbacks is inherently fine, but watching it play out here is baffling; you could reconfigure the scenes chronologically, and this already lousy film might play better. Alec Baldwin isn’t a recurring presence after that; the movie is just pointlessly like this. At the very least, the not-so-smooth attempt at (I think?) trying to trick the audience regarding what is happening with its central plot could have been avoided. It’s hard to tell since the editing makes everything come across as more confusing than the story is. Furthermore, the fact that I have so many questions about the filmmaker’s intent mostly already proves whatever he was trying to do with structure didn’t pan out. That’s an understatement.

The story itself concerns Clive Standen’s Jack, taking on logging work en route to a job site with his superior and mentor (Alec Baldwin.) Now, if reading this brings about some interest that there might be some positive and earnest deforestation messaging at the heart of the action, let me remind readers that this is one of those super cheaply made Lionsgate VOD entities that somehow slides its way into a few theaters across America. Jack is seeking revenge on some criminals running a meth operation out here in the woods, which also brings up several questions of logistics that the film never bothers to take a stab at answering.

Unsurprisingly, the one cooking up the meth gives the zaniest performance, which basically means Lochlyn Munro is playing clichéd psychopathic redneck running around with a crossbow, murdering anyone who might throw his shady business out of whack. Bringing an inexplicably large amount of money to a deal where the one cooking up the meth lives in a camper, presumably in the middle of nowhere, the leader of the buyers conveniently leaves the money in the back of a truck for Jack to steal and run off with. Stephen Dorff also plays a Park Ranger who gets involved in the two battling sides. The less said about the women who pop up in this movie is probably for the better.

For as much as Clive Standen gives a passable performance regarding both the emotional toll recent tragic events have taken on him and the close-quarters action, it’s also undermined by the film (written by Joe Perruccio) concocting scenarios that tastelessly ramp up that drama. Regarding the direction, nothing here stands out aside from one or two moments toward the end of Clive Standen letting loose some of that bottled-up anger and sadness. There’s a chance that if you show someone the final 10 minutes of Clear Cut, they will wrongly assume you just watched a decent movie. Fortunately, what is clear-cut is that this is anything but worth checking out.

Advertisement

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=embed/playlist

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Entertainment

Tom Sandoval reversing invasion-of-privacy suit against Ariana Madix: 'I hold no ill will'

Published

on

Tom Sandoval reversing invasion-of-privacy suit against Ariana Madix: 'I hold no ill will'

“Vanderpump Rules” star Tom Sandoval is standing down in his legal scuffle against ex-girlfriend Ariana Madix.

Sandoval, whose cheating scandal last year rocked the “Vanderpump Rules” fan base, clarified that he has no intentions to take legal action against his former longtime girlfriend, even though a now-ex-attorney encouraged him to file a cross-complaint in Los Angeles earlier this week. The complaint was part of a larger lawsuit from co-star Rachel Leviss, who sued Sandoval and Madix in February for eavesdropping, revenge porn, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“[Attorney Matthew Geragos] assured me that the action was customary and strictly preventative in these types of lawsuits and urged me to agree to it,” Sandoval said in an Instagram statement Thursday. “The words ‘New Lawsuit’ or ‘Suing’ were not articulated to me.”

Geragos, whom Sandoval said he had “removed” from his legal team since the cross-complaint was filed, did not immediately respond to The Times on Friday.

The cross-complaint was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In it, Sandoval, 40, accuses Madix, 38, of invasion of privacy. The complaint accused Madix of going through Sandoval’s phone in 2023 without his “authorization or permission.” She allegedly “reviewed images information, data, videos and/or communications,” including the sexually explicit FaceTime footage of co-star Rachel Leviss, 29, that launched the Scandoval cheating scandal.

Advertisement

Madix also allegedly made copies of the explicit Leviss footage and “distributed the [videos] to Leviss and third parties” without Sandoval’s consent, the complaint said. Sandoval was seeking general damages, legal fees and more.

Jordan Susman, an attorney for Madix, condemned Sandoval and the complaint in a statement shared with The Times earlier this week. He also accused the TomTom restaurateur of trying to “shirk personal responsibilities for the effects his actions had” on Madix.

In a statement to The Times on Friday, Susman said his team is “pleased that Mr. Sandoval has stated his intention to dismiss his cross-complaint against Ms. Madix.”

He added: “This entire lawsuit against Ms. Madix is without merit, and it is only a matter of time before it is dismissed completely.”

Sandoval said in his Thursday statement that he “should’ve done more of my due diligence” and doubled down that “in no way am I suing Ariana,” adding that the cross-complaint is being removed.

Advertisement

“I hold no ill will or vindictiveness toward Ariana. Now, by removing both the Cross-Complaint and the attorney who recommended it, I hope to get through this case quickly, so that Ariana and I can both finally MOVE ON with our lives,” he said.

Sandoval and Madix had been in a romantic relationship for nine years, but in March 2023, Madix learned that he had been cheating on her with co-star Leviss. Days after People broke the news about the Sandoval-Madix split, both Sandoval and Leviss apologized — in since-deleted Instagram posts — for their involvement in the affair. The scandal spawned intrigue among “Vanderpump Rules” devotees and nonfans alike. It also launched each of the members of the reality TV trio to a new level of national attention — whether they wanted it or not.

A year after “Scandoval,” the tabloid controversy is still following Sandoval, Madix and Leviss — and it seems it will continue to do so well into next year. The trial for Leviss’ revenge-porn case against Sandoval and Madix is set to begin in Los Angeles in November 2025.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 'Twisters' – Catholic Review

Published

on

Movie Review: 'Twisters' – Catholic Review

NEW YORK (OSV News) – Back in the early days of the Ford administration, disaster movies were all the rage. A capsized cruise ship, a skyscraper aflame, airplanes imperiled — the genre ran the gamut of mishaps before fading away at the end of the 1970s.

Two decades later, advances in computer capabilities led to something of a revival, one product of which was 1996’s “Twister.” Director Jan de Bont’s film had separated spouses Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton working through their marital tensions while trying to make a breakthrough in early storm warning.

Flash forward nearly 30 years and a standalone sequel, “Twisters” (Universal), looms on the horizon. While moviegoers need not take shelter from this long-distance follow-up — which is only loosely connected to its predecessor — neither will it transport them over the rainbow.

The main flaw in the production, helmed by Lee Isaac Chung, is its consistent air of Hollywood phoniness. Its main asset is the mostly appealing antagonism-turns-to-love tale that unfolds amid the rising winds.

Haunted by an experiment during a tornado that went fatally wrong, meteorologist Kate Carter (Daisy Edgar-Jones) has spent the ensuing half-decade practicing her craft from the safety of a desk. She’s reluctantly drawn back to storm chasing, however, when her old friend Javi (Anthony Ramos) suddenly appears on the scene seeking her help.

Advertisement

Javi is out to launch a potentially beneficial new technology. But he’s convinced he can only succeed with the aid of Kate’s expertise and intuition.

Once back on the plains, Kate — who quickly becomes the guiding force of Javi’s team — crosses paths with a squad of apparently reckless thrill seekers led by cocky self-proclaimed “tornado wrangler” Tyler Owens (Glen Powell). Kate and Tyler initially clash, then develop a relationship of mutual respect that eventually deepens into a romance.

Like the burgeoning bond between the principals, the hairbreadth escapes chronicled in screenwriter Mark L. Smith’s script are entirely predictable, the sacrifice of the odd extra notwithstanding. So much so, that viewers may emerge from the Cineplex humming that old standard, “Just in Time.”

“Twisters” does promote compassion for catastrophe victims, making concern for them the moral standard by which its characters are to be judged. And objectionable ingredients are mostly kept out of the mix, so mature adolescents may be given the go-ahead to reap the whirlwind.

Yet human interaction comes in a poor second throughout the proceedings, which are focused instead on the wizardry of special effects. So audience reaction to the picture will largely depend on each patron’s interest in large-scale displays of Mother Nature’s fury.

Advertisement

The film contains some medical gore, several mild oaths, occasional crude language and a couple of crass terms. The OSV News classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Read More Movie & TV Reviews

Copyright © 2024 OSV News

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending