The Alamo Drafthouse has taken yet another step to craft their image as a place for cinephiles, where politeness and respect for movie purists is of upmost importance. Their “Don’t Talk/Don’t Text” ethos has adopted another degree of enforced manners -- punctuality.
On its blog, the Drafthouse writes:
“Quite simply, no one will be seated once the film has begun. If you show up after the feature starts, you have missed it. The plane has left the terminal.”
House lights dim, theater doors shut. And this includes pre-show trailers. Caught behind some congestion on the way to the Drafthouse to catch a flick? Might as well turn around. In a traffic-riddled town, public feedback on this major decision has been mixed.
The Drafthouse says moviegoers can head to their seats upon arrival, “content in the knowledge that the only people you’ll see drifting past you in the darkness are our stealthy, ninja-like waitstaff.”
A thread on the Austin Reddit page is nearly evenly divided, with some applauding the move (and an anonymous Drafthouse server saying the move is tied to the theater's new all-reserved-seating policy.) Others complain the waitstaff are more disruptive than any moviegoers (which does raise the question: Why does the commenter even bother going there?)
Bathroom breaks and phone calls in the lobby are permissible. But if you do end up a little late to the show time and have purchased your ticket in advance, you will either be supplied with a ticket to another showing, or given your money back.