Alamo Drafthouse blames ‘nationwide’ theater outage on Sony projector fail

A sign reportedly placed at Alamo Drafthouse’s Minnesota location informing patrons that no films will be shown that day. | Photo: 3NU (Reddit)

“Sorry everyone! Sony is having issues with their projectors that is preventing us from being able to project movies at some of our theaters today.”

That’s what theater chain Alamo Drafthouse posted to social media sites on New Year’s Eve, adding that it was closing five theaters entirely for the rest of the day as a result. As of New Year’s Day, however, most theaters and most showtimes now appear to be available, with a few exceptions.

Sorry everyone! Sony is having issues with their projectors that is preventing us from being able to project movies at some of our theaters today. We’ll be closing the following theaters for the rest of the day. If you have tickets to a movie today please call the theater to request a refund or use our app to cancel / reschedule your tickets. We apologize for this inconvenience!   Yonkers  NYC - Lower Manhattan  Denver - Westminster and Sloans Lake  San Francisco - New Mission
Screenshot of @alamodrafthouse (X)

It’s not clear what happened. As New Year’s Day is a holiday, we somewhat understandably haven’t yet been able to reach Alamo or Sony spokespeople, and not every theater or every screening was affected.

That didn’t stop Alamo from blaming its Sony projectors for what at least one theater called a “nationwide” outage, however.

“Due to nation-wide technical difficulties with Sony, we aren’t able to play any titles today,” read part of a taped paper sign hanging inside a Woodbury, Minnesota location. That apparently didn’t keep the customer who took a picture of that sign from watching The Apartment at that very same location, though:

When we went to our seats, the wait staff let us know that despite the fact that the previews were playing, we wouldn’t know until the movie actually started whether we could see the film or not. If it didn’t work, the screen would just turn black. Luckily, the film went through without a hitch.

Here’s the latest guidance from Alamo on January 1st:

Most screenings are back online today at the affected theaters listed below! We thank you all for your patience and understanding. Please, check the email used to purchase your ticket, as our team will reach out directly if your show is impacted.

Showings of the following films are being reorganized and may remain cancelled due to these complications. Please, check your email if you had tickets to one of these films:





What might have only affected some screenings at some theaters? I’ve seen speculation on Reddit that it may have something to do with expired digital certificates used to unlock encrypted films, but we haven’t heard that from Alamo or Sony. We’re looking forward to finding out.

Sony reportedly exited the digital cinema projector business in 2020; all of the company’s existing models are listed as discontinued.

Screenshot of
Every Sony 4K digital cinema projector is listed as discontinued.

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