Promotion comes amidst industry-leading box office performance for the theater chain
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has announced that Michael Kustermann has been promoted to President from his position as Chief Experience Officer for the growing movie theater company. Under Kustermann’s leadership, the company has made significant strides against key initiatives including the digital and marketing team structure and talent development, a new Silent Service ordering platform, Alamo Season Pass, Rolling Roadshow, Fantastic Fest and culinary efforts. As President, Kustermann will take a larger role in supporting the organization to evolve and execute the strategic vision, accelerate key initiatives and further Alamo Drafthouse’s commitment to culture and engagement with their teammates. Michael will continue to report to CEO Shelli Taylor and oversee the Strategy, Marketing & Creative, Product & Digital, and Development Teams.
The announcement comes at an exciting time for Alamo Drafthouse as the company has seen an incredible post-pandemic recovery. Comp location sales recovery vs 2019 outpaced the industry every month of 2022, and have continued this trend by double digits each month of 2023 YTD. For Q1 2023 vs Q1 2019, Alamo Drafthouse is also the only top 10 theater chain to be over 100% of 2019 recovery for system wide sales. A stable slate of films coupled with Alamo’s unique brand and guest experience is contributing to this success. Alamo Drafthouse also leads the industry in the wide variety in films shown, finding great success not only with tent poles, but also adult-driven fare like A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and most recently “Beau is Afraid”, Neon’s “Triangle of Sadness”, Searchlight Pictures’ “The Menu” and more, along with its strong repertory and special event programming. In 2022, Alamo programmed more films than any other top 10 exhibitor, with 1200 different films, doubling the average.
Growth remains a healthy part of Alamo Drafthouse’s horizon, having opened 6 theaters since the pandemic in new markets like Chicago, St. Louis, and Washington DC, with more on the way including the company’s first location in Boston.
“With moviegoing coming back in force, Alamo Drafthouse is back in growth mode! Our plan is to bring the movies we love to movie lovers everywhere. Michael has been instrumental in rebuilding the company, and will now play a larger role in accelerating our growth. I am proud to have him as a partner in our future,” says Alamo Drafthouse CEO Shelli Taylor
“I have the great privilege of working with the best teammates in the exhibition industry who share a deep love of movies, that for me began as a child growing up in Antwerp, Belgium with a sister who opened the door to cinema. I am excited for the opportunity to further Alamo Drafthouse’s growth and mission to be the best damn cinema that ever was or will be,” says Alamo Drafthouse President Michael Kustermann.
Founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League, Alamo Drafthouse has been heralded for unique programming events, great food and drinks, and high exhibition standards, earning accolades including “Best Theater Ever” by Time Magazine and “The Coolest Theater in the World” by Wired. A September 2018 Market Force Information survey of nearly 13,000 moviegoers across the country gave Alamo Drafthouse the #1 ranking for Favorite Movie Theater, Best Service, and all food and beverage-related categories.
Alamo Drafthouse provides a unique combination of theater and restaurant, showing first-run movies, independent films and special events with an extensive menu made from scratch. Guests order all food and drinks from servers who quietly attend to them throughout the movie from inside the theater. Instead of a barrage of advertising, before each feature Alamo Drafthouse shows a curated pre-show of rare and humorous clips themed to each feature.
Additionally, Alamo Drafthouse protects the theatrical experience with a zero tolerance policy for people who disrupt the film with talking or texting. Alamo Drafthouse’s “Don’t Talk” PSAs have frequently received national attention, and have featured former Texas Governor Ann Richards, Jeff Goldblum and a velociraptor, Georgie from “IT”, “The Room” director and star Tommy Wiseau, and one very angry voicemail.
About Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded in 1997 as a single-screen mom and pop repertory theater in Austin, TX. Twenty-six years later, with 39 locations and counting, Alamo Drafthouse has been called “the best theater in America” by Entertainment Weekly and “the best theater in the world” by Wired. Alamo Drafthouse has built a reputation as a movie lover’s oasis not only by combining best-in-class food and drink service with the movie-going experience, but also introducing unique programming and high-profile, star-studded special events. Alamo Drafthouse created Fantastic Fest, a world-renowned genre film festival dubbed “The Geek Telluride” by Variety featuring independents, international filmmakers, and major Hollywood studios. Alamo Drafthouse continues to expand its brand in new and exciting ways, including the American Genre Film Archive, a non-profit film archive dedicated to preserving, restoring and sharing film, and with eight new theaters announced for this year and beyond.