Alamo Drafthouse sets date to open new Katy location

It’s been a long time coming — five years, in fact — but the Alamo Drafthouse’s new Houston-area location at the LaCenterra mixed-use development in Katy is set to have its soft opening July 2, followed by a grand opening July 20.

The newly built eight-screen complex at 2707 Commercial Center Blvd. replaces the 13-year-old, seven-screen theater in Katy’s Mason Park, which closes June 21.


The new venue, which opened for a media tour Wednesday even though it’s not completely finished, will feature:

— Sony 4K digital projection in all auditoriums.

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Alamo Drafthouse Special Events

“Animal House” Movie Party — July 2

“Jaws” Movie Party — July 8

Alamo Kids Camp: “The Land Before Time” July 9-12

Mystery Science Theater 3000’s Frank Conniff and Trace Beauliew Live — July 20

“The Yellow Submarine” — July 20-26

Greg Sestero from “The Room” Live — July 28

The new Alamo Drafthouse is located  2707 Commercial Center Blvd., Katy

www.drafthouse.com/houston

— Digital surround sound.

— A full dine-in menu with gluten-free options prepared in a separate station

— And a Western-themed bar/lounge, with an outdoor patio, serving 46 beers on tap, 40-50 premium whiskeys and bourbons as well as wine on tap.

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The auditoriums range in capacity from 40 to 139. And among its 175 employees are two full-time projectionists, a function that’s often a rarity in this era of the multiplex.

The waiting is the hardest part

But, as the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouses have been sprouting up around the country like bluebonnets in a Texas spring, Houston fans might be asking, “What took so long?” After all, the Austin chain now has four theaters in DFW with three more in the pipeline while it still only has a single location in Houston.

“To find a piece of land is really what it amounts to,” said Neil Billingsley-Michaelson, CEO and president of Triple Tap Ventures, the company that runs the Alamo Drafthouse franchise for Houston, El Paso and Lubbock. “Being part of a development like this is critical … . What you need for a movie theater is tons and tons of parking and a 38,000-square-foot footprint or more.

“It’s just a function of the market and real estate. We’ve probably got a half-dozen LOI’s (letters of intent) in the works. So much of this movie theater business is real-estate dominated so you can’t just put one wherever you want. You’ve got to find the right landlord-partner.”

Another area Alamo Drafthouse, in Sugar Land, is scheduled to open next year. Still, the obvious question then becomes when will one open within the Houston city limits? The answer, for now, is be patient.

“We definitely want to be in the loop and the Dallas growth story is a very similar growth story for Houston,” said Billingsley-Michaelson, referencing DFW’s first Alamo which opened in the city of Richardson in 2013. That was followed by one in the Cedars neighborhood, just south of downtown Dallas,  three years later, and now the Lake Highlands neighborhood and the Las Colinas area of Irving.

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Movies & TV

“When you talk about the Richardson opening and that kind of inflection point, that’s where we are,” he said. “It’s getting things to click and (LaCenterra) was tough to get done and we weren’t going to abandon Katy. We have a 13-year legacy and a tremendous fan base and a loyal following. We really needed this to happen to accelerate the rest of it.”

Indie fans rejoice

Fans of indie and art house films sometimes can be frustrated in Houston as some films don’t play here theatrically. But with Alamo now having more auditoriums, one of them being a small-capacity, 40-seat theater, those programming possibilities are broadened. Upcoming at the Alamo are such talked-about indies as “Sorry to Bother You,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Damsel.”

“(Alamo’s) not turning into an art theater, it just has more capacity (to show different movies),” said Billingsley-Michaelson.

Also, the specialty programming for which the Alamo chain is known — such as Alamo for All (low-light, lower-volume screenings for parents with children or others who are sound sensitive), Graveyard Shift (for horror fans), Sing-Along Screenings and Film Club (a movie followed by a discussion) — will continue in the new location.

Still, Alamo’s bread-and-butter are mainstream films that are presented in a strict no-talking/no-texting environment with kitschy pre-show videos and clips instead of commercials. The big films playing at LaCenterra on the July 20 opening weekend are “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again” and “The Equalizer 2.”

Early birds take note: food and non-alcoholic drinks will be discounted for the soft opening/employee training period running from July 2 through July 19.

For more information, go to www.drafthouse.com/houston.

This post was originally published here

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