March 23, 2023


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

What gets movie fans away from the TV and into the theater?

“It feels like normalcy or starting normalcy”: Shannon Hoff watched “Zola” at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in downtown Los Angeles on July 10.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Prior to movie theaters closing, Shannon Hoff, 53, and Joshua Tuberville, 50, were season pass holders at Alamo Drafthouse.

“It feels great. It feels like normalcy or starting normalcy,” said Hoff, grinning over the return. The L.A. locals, who live near USC, came out to see the Janicza Bravo-directed indie film “Zola,” a story that began with an epic Twitter thread of sex and betrayal.

For Tuberville, being around people in movie theaters and seeing their reactions is key. He appreciates that at Alamo, there’s no texting or talking — it’s a place, he said, that “demands respect for the screen.”

A man in a mask, hat and floral print short-sleeved shirt stands in front of a movie poster.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, says Joshua Tuberville, “demands respect for the screen.” He saw”Zola” on July 10.

(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

He also likes that you can get a cheeseburger, warm chocolate chip cookies and beer or cocktails delivered to your seat.

“Obviously,” he continued, “being able to eat and drink is great with the seats, and it’s a very comfortable experience. But more than that, it’s just I like knowing everyone here really wants to be here. a I think that’s true of most theaters but here it’s more of a real experience.”