Back at the beginning of the summer, popular indie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse began tinkering with a rather wild new idea in light of the pandemic—renting out entire theaters to families and pandemic “pods” for the relatively low price of $150. According to the chain, the program proved to be a smash success, to the extent that it’s now expanding to all Alamo Drafthouse locations in 12 states in the immediate future.
“When we began rolling out Your Own Private Alamo at our Austin location in August, we had no idea what the response would be,” said Kristen Wheaton, Alamo Drafthouse Senior Director of Venue Experience to Entertainment Weekly. “It was big. Really big. In just the first few weeks we booked over 700 groups of families and coworkers at just a handful of theaters. We’re so excited to expand this program to more locations across the country.”
That is a lot of theater bookings for a brand new program in only a few locations, and it seems to indicate the pent-up desire for consumers both to socialize at a movie theater setting and see films on the big screen in the safest possible manner.
“After a massively successful rollout in select cities we’re excited to be able to offer this at Alamo Drafthouse theaters nationwide that are currently open,” said Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor. “Our guests have been asking how their friends, family, and fellow podmates can book their own safe and relaxing screening, and we’re proud to be able to deliver this to them at such an affordable rate.”
The base rate of $150 is good for the theater rental, apparently for any number of guests up to 30, although Drafthouse says the average rental group is apparently only 10 people or so. There’s also an additional $150 minimum required to be spent on food, but with a group of 20 or so guests that becomes academic—you’d be spending that much anyway. In fact, with a big enough group of friends and family, the private rental experience arguably becomes cheaper than simply going to the theater like normal.
When a customer books a theater, they get to choose seating for members of the group, in addition to selecting a film. Those films include new releases like Tenet and Kajillionaire or archival films like Jurassic Park, The Goonies or The Matrix. If you live in an area with an Alamo Drafthouse, keep your eye on the local theater’s website for rental opportunities.