(Bloomberg) -- Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theater chain that pioneered the in-movie dining experience. 

Terms of the deal weren’t announced in a statement from the companies on Wednesday. Alamo Drafthouse will be managed within Culver City, California-based Sony Pictures in a new division focused on experiences. Michael Kustermann will remain chief executive officer of Alamo Drafthouse, which will continue to operate all of its locations in 25 metro areas.

Founded in 1997 in Austin, Alamo Drafthouse upped the popcorn and soda experience by adding table service and an extensive food and drink menu at its theaters. The company is North America’s 7th-largest theater chain, with 35 locations across the US. 

The deal “reinforces SPE’s long-held commitment to theatrical exhibition and continued initiatives in experiential entertainment,” Sony Pictures said. Sony Pictures has been pushing more into the live experiences businesses, with its Wheel of Fortune LIVE! traveling tour and the opening of Wonderverse, experiential and virtual-reality entertainment center, in Chicago in January.

“Alamo Drafthouse’s differentiated movie-going experience, admired brand and devoted community fit well with this vision,” said Ravi Ahuja, president and chief operating officer of SPE. 

The acquisition comes during a difficult time for Hollywood box-office revenues and national theater attendance, which has yet to recover from the pandemic. The domestic film industry has also suffered from production delays related to the Hollywood writers and actors strikes last year. So far, the summer movie season is off to a slow start, with box-office revenue over the Memorial Day holiday possibly the worst in decades.

But Alamo Drafthouse said it has a “highly engaged core audience” of 4 million loyalty members. The chain releases more movies per year than any other, according to the company, and welcomes more than 10 million guests a year. Last year, Alamo Drafthouse saw a 30% jump in box office revenue from 2022, it said. The increase in box office revenue across North America last year was 20%, according to ComScore.

Sony Pictures acquired Alamo Drafthouse from owners Altamont Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and founder Tim League. Goldman Sachs & Co. served as financial adviser to Alamo Drafthouse.

--With assistance from Thomas Buckley.

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