In the early 1990’s, Tim League spent $50,000 in savings to lease an abandoned movie theater on the wrong side of the tracks—a shaky experiment that eventually grew into a thriving national chain. As Tim and his wife Karrie built theaters in Austin and beyond, they made a name for themselves by offering dinner with the movie, creative pairings (like sake with Godzilla), and roadshows where movie-goers could watch Deliverance in canoes, or Rocky on the famous steps in Philly. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema now has 40 locations across the country and a revenue of over $300 million, but there have been plenty of bruises along the way: a failed first theater, a fractious lawsuit with business partners, and a swan dive into the red during the pandemic.
This episode was produced by Carla Esteves, with music by Ramtin Arablouei
Edited by Neva Grant, with research help from Carla Esteves.