Alamo Drafthouse, one of the few theater chains that has been willing to screen Netflix‘s original films, has launched its own video-on-demand streaming platform.
“After our theaters shut down in mid-March, we saw an overwhelmingly positive response to our Alamo-At-Home digital releases of films like Extra Ordinary, Roar, Saint Frances, and our Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday titles,” the company wrote in an official blog post.
The surge in traffic was enough for it to begin looking at VOD as a viable revenue channel that might help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 closing its 41 locations. So, in partnership with ScreenPlus (a company that specializes in building VOD services for theaters) and Vista (a cinema management tools developer), it put together Alamo on Demand, which will let viewers rent, buy, and stream films.
“We firmly believe nothing can or ever will replace the cinematic experience, but we also know that even once our theaters are back up and running (and they will be), we’ll be able to use and evolve this service into something special,” Alamo added.
The service will offer a wide range of new films, from little-known indies to major studio productions to season festival hits (when festivals are a thing again), as well as every movie put out by Drafthouse Films, Alamo’s distribution arm. Alamo is also doing a fair bit of curating to bring in older content: one of its launch offerings is a selection of films by Bong Joon-ho, who directed and cowrote this year’s Best Picture winner Parasite; and for later this year, it’s planning to release a collection of “Brucesploitation” movies to mark the debut of documentary Enter the Clones of Bruce.
Alamo on Demand is currently available only in website form, but iOS and Android apps are coming “very, very soon,” Alamo says.
Here’s a rundown of the service’s launch titles and future titles, courtesy of Alamo:
- The Friday, May 8th premiere of Spaceship Earth, the acclaimed new documentary film exploring the story of Biosphere 2, a pilot for Mars colonization. We’ll also have a live followup Q&A moderated by Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League featuring several of the original BioSpherians. It streams via YouTube on Sunday at 4pm CT
- The May 22nd exclusive premiere with a livestream Q&A of Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl, about the punk renegade, TV wrestling queen, and DIY leader of an all-girl band.
- From Lionsgate, upcoming titles include director Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, plus John Wick 3, Drafthouse Recommends alum La La Land, the criminally underseen A Simple Favor, the immortal Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, and, oh yeah, Dirty Dancing.
- Recent titles that blazed through Alamo Drafthouse theaters, like the landmark Best International Film, Screenplay, Director and Best Picture Oscar-winner and cultural phenomenon Parasite, the stunning period romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and the acclaimed comedy-horror cult-classic-in-the-making Extra Ordinary, starring Will Forte.
- Over a dozen restored genre titles from the American Genre Film Archive, including Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda, the incomparable Bad Black, and an exclusive release: The Neon Slime Mixtape.
- In addition to Parasite, a closer look at the work of Bong Joon Ho, with The Host, Mother, Tokyo!, and Barking Dogs Never Bite.
- A Friday night premiere of Austin comedy legends Master Pancake Theater’s very first direct-to-streaming movie riff, an all-new MST3K-style riff on the Tiger King of the 1980s, Roar.
- A bingeable curated bundle of “Ozsploitation classics” covering the low-budget/less than highbrow exploitation films Australia turned out in the 1970s, anchored by the documentary Not Quite Hollywood.
- Well Go USA’s 2018 South Korean masterpiece Burning, starring Steven Yeun and considered by many one of the best films of the 2010s.
- Drafthouse Films’ entire catalog, including Academy Award nominees The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence, and Bullhead, the acclaimed Riz Ahmed breakthrough film Four Lions.