Alamo Drafthouse Is Coming to Tempe

A rendering of the Alamo Drafthouse Tempe location.
A rendering of the Alamo Drafthouse Tempe location. LGE Design Group

Attending one of the fun and festive movie parties at the Alamo Drafthouse in south Chandler can feel like a journey to the edge of town. But soon, Valley dwellers will have another option that's more centrally located. The Austin, Texas-based company is expanding its presence in metro Phoenix.

According to an announcement on its website, the Alamo Drafthouse Tempe will open at 1098 East Baseline Road, between South Lakeshore Drive and South Rural Avenue, in early 2018. The seven-screen movie theater will anchor a development from DBM Ventures and LGE Design Build called The Collective, which is expected to include shopping, restaurants, and a fitness center.

The theater chain has earned praise from entertainment publications and cinephiles alike for its unique presentations of classic and first-run movies under the best possible conditions.

For example, you can enjoy afternoon tea while watching the Oscar-winning drama The English Patient or shout Ezekiel 25:17 while firing a cap gun during a Pulp Fiction movie party. Despite these entertaining enhancements to the moviegoing experience, Alamo Drafthouse is perhaps best known for their zero-tolerance cellphone policy. One of the theater's public-service announcements went viral several years ago for including an angry NSFW voicemail from a disruptive patron who was kicked out for using her cellphone during a movie.

According to Craig Paschich, a partner of Paschich Alamo Holdings LLC, opening a second Valley location in Tempe was always part of his company’s overall plan.

He's eager to apply what was learned from opening the Arizona Avenue movie theater last December to bring Tempe's college community a unique combination of first-run films, cult programming, and food and drink choices — even as moviegoers in Chandler are still grasping what the chain is all about.

“The reaction [in Chandler] has been great,” Paschich says by email. “The community has been very supportive. They are still figuring out who we are and what we do, but every month has been better than the last.”

One amenity that will make the Tempe location different from its suburban counterpart is the addition of an auditorium with 35-millimeter film projection capabilities, which will undoubtedly please film purists and allow for more themed movie parties.

Lauren Knight, who will serve as creative manager at the new site, says most of the perks that have drawn people to the Chandler location will be available in Tempe, with some additional offerings that will cater to the student body of Arizona State University, including special lectures and a venue to show the work of student filmmakers.

“The new Alamo Drafthouse Tempe will have the same signature programming our fans have come to love and expect, such as interactive movie parties, celebrity guest events, classic and arthouse films, and beer dinners," Knight says via email. "We are hopeful it will also have its own Alamo Film Club, like we recently began in Chandler."

Mondo, the boutique cinematic arm of Alamo Drafthouse known for their beautiful, one-of-a-kind movie posters, will design the yet-to-be-decided overall theme for the seven-screen movie theater and bar (though topping the pure imagination of Chandler’s Willy Wonka motif will be difficult). Paschich estimates they will hire around 130 new staff members for the new location. He also states that despite rumors to the contrary, at this time there are no plans to open a third Valley location in Phoenix.

For more information, visit the Alamo Drafthouse Tempe website.

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil