pics: inside Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn (grand opening is Friday)
The long-awaited Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn opens this week, as part of the Center Point complex just off the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway stop, and I got to tour the place earlier this week. You can check out photos in the gallery above. While the theater doesn't officially open till Friday, October 28, it's in soft-open mode right now, with discounted tickets, and today's screenings (10/26) include Army of Darkness, The Dark Crystal, Ms. 45, a sneak preview of rock doc We Are X (which opens there on 11/4), blaxploitation classic Dolemite, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and more. Friday, new releases include the much-lauded Moonlight, as well as The Handmaiden. (And in December, Nick Cave’s Once More with Feeling.) Tickets are on sale.
There are seven theaters -- the biggest being 188 seats (the most of any Alamo theater) and the smallest being 40 seats -- all with table service offering full food and drink menus. All seats are reserved -- you choose where you sit -- and the front rows, which aren't too close to the screen, are recliner chairs. Like all the theaters in the chain, they'll be offering a mix of big new releases (Doctor Strange, Rogue One), indie films (including Alamo Recommends titles like The Handmaiden), as well as theme "Signature Series" nights, family programming, and special events like the Suburbia screening with director Penelope Spheeris.
Like all Alamo lobbies, Downtown Brooklyn location has a tailored photo-op -- in this case King Kong, where you can climb on top of the Empire State building and bat at biplanes while holding Faye Raye. The lobbies and hallways are also currently decorated with very cool Turkish knockoff movie posters, but they'll be swapped out every few months. There's also a corner of the lobby decorated with soundtrack covers.
The House of Wax bar, which you don't have to buy a movie ticket to go to, houses a collection of the Castan Brothers "panoptica" touring attractions of the 1880s, full of wax models of death masks, deformities, "foetal abnormalities," and other macabre, sensational curiosities. The house cocktails all have this theme ("Anatomicals," "Pathologicals, "Geographicals") and there are nearly 40 beers on tap. You can take your drink from House of Wax with you to the theater (but you can not order from the House of Wax menu, currently, while in the theater). There's a small stage in the back where they're planning on hosting live events.
Also like all Alamo Drafthouse locations, Downtown Brooklyn has a strict "No Talk No Text" policy in its theaters, which CEO Tim League says they're serious about enforcing, even in in Downtown Brooklyn. (We got to see a PSA especially made for this location starring Janeane Garofalo.) They are likely to be a little more lenient of such things at at their monthly "Shouting at the Screen" series which is hosted by Wyatt Cenac and Donwill and will explore blaxploitation and black cult cinema. There are also "movie party" nights with sing-a-longs and other somewhat boisterous activities encouraged.