As I write these words, Google is still listings movie showtimes for the Alamo Drafthouse Denton, but if you log on to the theater’s website or go by the Denton location, you’ll receive the grim news that all five of the chain’s locations in North Texas have closed down as of this weekend. “Our franchise partner that operated all of our DFW locations has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is closing their business immediately,” says the statement from the Austin-based chain, adding that they hope to get those locations back up and running, though they gave no word as to when that might be. Said franchisee, which is called Two Is One, One Is None blamed the COVID pandemic and the Hollywood strikes during last summer.

I would add that the Drafthouse’s business model makes it susceptible to trends in the restaurant and beverage industries, though movies are what tend to get people in the door. Perhaps a location nearer to the population center of Fort Worth could have drawn more people, though it’s important to note that the Dallas locations that were in high-traffic areas have also closed.

Regardless of what is at fault, this is a blow to the moviegoing community, as the Drafthouse endeavored to make every movie an occasion, even the inevitable ones that didn’t live up to such treatment. Besides the latest in specialty cinema (the Denton location was among the first in our area to show Babes and I Saw the TV Glow), the theaters also had special showings of films with devoted cult followings such as Shaolin Soccer and Shaun of the Dead. Whether and when they will re-open, and whether they will retain the feel of the theaters that appealed to both hard-core cinephiles and the popcorn crowd remains to be seen. Still, I’m going to miss the place where I saw Mandy and the Suspiria remake in a packed house, and which more than once found its way into our annual Best of Fort Worth issue as the best place to watch a movie. When we find out more news about the Drafthouse’s prospects in North Texas, we will pass the word on to you.