Alamo Drafthouse's April Fools' Day Joke Is A Moviegoer's Nightmare

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Alamo Drafthouse trolls cinema purists and vertical video enthusiasts with an April Fools’ Day joke in which the American movie chain unveiled plans for an all-new theatre experience called “VerticalVision™.” Alamo Drafthouse made an official website announcement, and also released two VerticalVision™-themed videos on YouTube. 

Founded in 1997 by Tim and Karrie League, the Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema currently screens movies in 35 locations. In 1994, the brand was sold to CEO Terrell Braly. While the majority of the Alamo Drafthouse movie theaters are located within Texas, the company is reportedly set to expand throughout the United States, including a new location in downtown Los Angeles. Last month, Alamo Drafthouse announced their new ticket subscription service called Season Pass, which will include an unlimited movie plan for $20. Last year, Alamo Drafthouse introduced an IMAX competitor called The Big Show, described as “the purest way” to see a movie. Now on April Fools’ Day, they are literally teasing fans with a new grandiose plan. 

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On Alamo Drafthouse’s website, the company released a press release entitled “Alamo Drafthouse launches VerticalVision™ next-gen theater experience.” The 15-paragraph article describes “the tallest screen imaginable,” and that the new Los Angeles location will feature “the company’s new Vertical Format standard, VerticalVision™.” The press release also includes an official statement from the aforementioned Tim League, who states, “If you talk to any of the top directors in Hollywood, they’ll tell you that the format they’re most excited about is vertical.” In addition, filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson is revealed to be a VerticalVision™ backer, and is reportedly developing "LONG TALL SALLY," described as “his first native VerticalVision feature” starring “Elizabeth Debicki.” Alamo Drafthouse also released an introductory VerticalVision™ video, along with a complementary demo. Watch them below and bask in the glory of VerticalVision™.

While most moviegoers understand the value of a proper widescreen cinematic experience, not everyone may realize that VerticalVision™ is intended to be a joke. In fact, the official April Fools’ Day press release comedically cites Facebook as a primary influencer, as Alamo Drafthouse’s social media manager, Megan Reardon, notes, “Facebook has a proven track record when it comes to video content and in knowing what people really want.” The VerticalVision™ press release acknowledges the typical aspect ratios of 1.85:1 and 2.39:1, and the joke is seemingly targeted at individuals who use their phone to record vertically, rather than flipping the device sideways to capture widescreen video. Alamo Drafthouse’s proposed VerticalVision™ plan also states that audiences will be able to use their phones to “literally react to the movie in real-time using thumbs up, hearts, and, for documentaries and foreign-language films, even crying face emojis.

Alamo Drafthouse’s VerticalVision™ plan is merely an April Fools’ Day joke. Unfortunately, theatrical movie experiences continue to be ruined by flashing phone lights and chatty audience members. But maybe VerticalVision™ is the way of the future, and maybe we’ll get to see Anderson’s other VerticalVision™ films called “JUMPIN’ JACKS, LONGING TO FALL, and HOW HIGH THE SKY.

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Source: Alamo Drafthouse

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