With Plans To Expand, Indie Cinema Alamo Drafthouse Makes Big Branding Hire

Christian Parkes, a vet of Nike and Levi's, will work on expanding the Austin brand's group of companies from Hollywood.

Beloved Austin-based alt-cinema institution Alamo Drafthouse grew from nine to 17 locations nationwide in 2013, with plans to reach 50 by 2017. Cofounders Tim and Karrie League also own the Mondo apparel brand and distribution company Drafthouse Films, whose documentary The Act of Killing had the highest-grossing opening of any documentary in 2013 and was nominated for an Oscar. And last year, they took films from their annual Fantastic Fest, the largest genre-film festival in the U.S., to eight markets.

Now, the Leagues have taken the next step in building a national film brand by hiring Los Angeles-based Christian Parkes, a veteran of global brands like Nike, Puma, and Levis. According to the Austin Business Journal, which interviewed Parkes, "the company has some expansions and deals planned in the near future that will make his presence near Hollywood even more important."

Details aren't yet public, but Parkes gave the ABJ some insight into the task of rebranding a successful but still disparate group of businesses:

All great brands have consistency in every area where the consumer touches it, and that’s a 365 days a year process," said Parkes. "The last thing I’m trying to do is take anything away or take anything apart, but there’s the theaters, the film division, Mondo and Fantastic Fest and the question is how do we build on what’s already there? The brand is very centered in the five states it operates in but as it goes into new markets, how do you engage with the community that’s there? With Drafthouse Films the stakes are getting bigger and so how do you keep pushing that?

Regarding how his experience at global consumer brands will apply to a homegrown business, Parkes said that "All of [the companies] have been in a really creative space and even though those are billion-dollar companies they haven’t been rigid in how they operate. That lends itself neatly to Drafthouse, because definitely the wish is to think at a big level."

Read the full interview here.

[Image: Flickr user Craige Moore]

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1 Comments

  • Elise Gabriel

    Such a great move. Alamo Drafthouse is such a fun brand & as a Texan who has moved all over the country but never found a movie theater as fun as the Drafthouse, I am excited they are expanding to spread the love all over the country!