Alamo Drafthouse to reel up March 25
By Peter Jones
Remember the Alamo?
The proprietors of what will soon be Littleton’s first and only movie theater are hoping audiences won’t be able to forget.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which is slated for a grand opening in Aspen Grove shopping center on March 25, is being promoted as equal parts restaurant, first-run theater, art cinema, old-movie revival house and quirky event space.
It is the first Colorado location for the unusual theater chain.
“The focus on film and the knowledge of film that comes out of this company is at a really high level,” said Tom DeFrancia, creative manager and partner in the Littleton franchise of the Texas-based company. “There’s a real passion for film that sets the Alamo apart. It’s a film festival mentality and an extreme passion for great movies.”
The seven-screen theater on Santa Fe Drive expects to hire about 120 people.
Alamo is reeling up along Littleton’s South Platte River, as the area is becoming a hub for destination entertainment. Earlier this month, Breckenridge Brewery announced it would relocate its brewery, restaurant and “rustic” tourist site to a vacant 12-acre parcel between Hudson Gardens and Aspen Grove.
The area’s proximity to the Mineral Avenue Light Rail Station and Historic Downtown Littleton has sparked excitement from civic leaders and city officials, including City Manager Michael Penny, who has described the convergence with adjectives like “awesome” and “cool.”
According to DeFrancia, landlocked Littleton’s first movie theater will be far different from most. Instead of pre-film commercials, Alamo will precede each feature’s show time with a 30-minute montage of related bonus features.
“We feel like people have already paid. They don’t need to pay to see commercials,” DeFrancia said. “If it’s a Paul Rudd movie, they’ll dig up his old audition tapes and obscure works that no one has ever seen before.”
As another example, for The Dark Knight Rises Alamo theaters screened clips from an obscure Japanese Batman serial.
Other special events will include “quote-alongs,” during which specific audience participation is encouraged during the screening of an older film. The theater will also revive classics from the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, under the premise that consumers are no longer content to watch such fare on DVD.
“I strongly believe that people want to get together in a theater environment and be with other people and watch a film on a big screen,” DeFrancia said.
Actors and directors will make personal appearances for special events, as part of Alamo’s efforts to create a sort of year-round film festival.
With the noted exception of “quote-alongs,” Alamo will strictly enforce its no talking and texting policy during movies.
As for its location, the fact that Littleton currently has no movie theaters was a big part of Alamo’s decision to locate there.
“Distributors don’t want theaters to be close to each other so you’re limited as to where you can go. Littleton is a film-free zone,” DeFrancia said. “It’s suburbs, but it’s on Santa Fe at the end of the light rail. Littleton is not a bedroom community.”
The restaurant and bar will offer full service in the theaters.
The franchisor currently has 11 locations in operation across the United States. Littleton is one of another 11 outlets that are either under construction or in preparation for a scheduled opening.