Movie Theater Woes

Popular Fort Worth-area movie theater temporarily turns off the lights

Popular Fort Worth-area movie theater temporarily turns off the lights

Alamo Drafthouse North Richland Hills auditorium
The auditoriums of four Dallas-Fort Worth Alamo Drafthouse locations will remain empty following recent closures. Photo by Kathy Tran

Just one month after announcing its optimistic reopening plans, Alamo Drafthouse has temporarily closed four of its six Dallas-Fort Worth locations, including North Richland Hills.

Bill DiGaetano, Chief Executive Officer of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema North Texas, released the following statement September 17: "To better weather the COVID storm and the decreased overall demand due to a lack of major new releases, we’ve decided to consolidate our business in Dallas and temporarily close four of our DFW-area franchise locations — Cedars, North Richland Hills, Denton, and Las Colinas.

"We’re happy to continue bringing you the best cinematic experience possible at our Richardson and Lake Highlands locations, and look forward to re-emerging with our other locations once major new releases resume."

An Alamo representative had no information on what constitutes "decreased overall demand," how long the temporary closures will last, or why the Richardson and Lake Highlands (Dallas) locations were chosen to remain open over the other four.

There were no other new closures in any other Texas markets, as not all of the theater chain's 41 national locations reopened following the initial shutdown in March. All six Dallas-Fort Worth locations reopened at the end of August, along with the LaCenterra location in Houston, Slaughter Lane and Lakeline locations in Austin, and the Stone Oak location in San Antonio. Currently, four of the six Austin locations, two of the three San Antonio locations, and the New Braunfels location remain closed.

Alamo had put a number of increased safety measures in place to entice moviegoers back, including sanitizing chairs and tables with an electrostatic fogger and disinfectant between screenings; limited capacity at each screening; a face mask requirement for all staff and guests; and all online ordering of tickets and food.

The biggest recent new release, Christopher Nolan's Tenet, made only $20 million in its opening weekend, a far cry from what a blockbuster like that would normally earn. With no major new releases scheduled in the coming weeks and films like No Time to Die moving to Thanksgiving and Wonder Woman 1984 moving to Christmas, demand for in-person moviegoing is likely to remain low.