Boutique cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse is getting into the VOD space, and has today announced the launch of a new VOD platform that allows users to rent or buy a wide selection of recent and classic films curated by the chain’s programmers. Some of the first available titles include the Best Picture-winning “Parasite,” the lauded “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” and the newly released “Spaceship Earth.”
Alamo On Demand is now live on the company’s website and will soon be available via iPhone and Android apps. The platform was created in partnership with ScreenPlus and Vista Cinema, a pair of companies that last month created a VOD program to help cinemas earn revenue during a time when theaters are closed.
“I’ll describe the scenario that sold me on the ScreenPlus platform,” said Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and newly named executive chairman in a statement. “Alamo Drafthouse had been promoting ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ to our guests for months. We love people to see films in the cinema first and foremost, but the reality is not everyone can always make the time for every movie they want to see. This platform allows us to give folks who missed ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ in cinemas another chance to see it, which is simply an extension of our enthusiasm and support for the film. Alamo On Demand helps us to continue the conversation past the theatrical window and recommend movies we love to our community. And in these shuttered days and beyond, these rentals and purchases help support your neighborhood theater.”
While the platform is answering an immediate revenue need now, the chain is already thinking about how it can be a permanent part of its business. Alamo has already long used Vista Cinema software on its backend, so the VOD platform will eventually allow users to earn loyalty points, or perhaps even receive a discount to rent or buy a film they saw at an Alamo theater. It floated the possibility of drumming up excitement for tentpoles by offering rental packages of a director’s past films, or titles that influenced an upcoming movie.
Like many other smaller chains, Alamo Drafthouse was an early adopter of the burgeoning “virtual cinema” scheme, not only making films available for rental online, but offering curated options through its newly launched Alamo-at-Home initiative. That level of curation will extend to the VOD platform.
Sarah Pitre, Alamo’s senior director of programming and promotions, said that each film available has been championed by a member of her team. That means viewers can expect forgotten genre classics from Weird Wednesday programmer Laird Jimenez, female-driven films picked by Champagne Cinema and Afternoon Tea creator Pitre, and Fantastic Fest selections from festival programmer Evrim Ersoy.
Distributors including Lionsgate, Magnolia Pictures, Neon, Drafthouse Films, Sony Pictures Classics, and Shout! Factory have already signed on to make some of their films available.
In addition to recent acclaimed films like “Knives Out,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “Pain and Glory,” “Junun,” “The Act of Killing,” and “RBG,” here are some of the highlights from Alamo On Demand’s upcoming programming:
-A package of films referenced in the upcoming “Brucesploitation” documentary “Enter the Clones of Bruce,” with titles available to binge over 21 days or rent individually.
-The exclusive premiere of documentary “Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl,” paired with a livestream Q&A and performance by Nash.
-A “movie riffing” screening of the rediscovered cult classic “Roar” from the Master Pancake Theater comedy collective.
-Restored picks from the American Genre Film Archive like Ed Wood’s “Take It Out in Trade” and “Ninja Zombie.”
-Family programming including the New York International Children’s Film Festival’s “Kid Flicks One and Two,” two programs of family shorts from the NYICFF 2019 festival, and the 50th anniversary restoration of Harry Nilsson’s “The Point”