Texas cinema company EVO acquires Austin arthouse chain Violet Crown
An Austin arthouse theater chain has been acquired by another: Violet Crown Cinemas, which launched in Austin in 2010, has been acquired by EVO Entertainment Group, the Austin-based entertainment company which will forthwith begin operating as Elevate Entertainment Group (EEG).
Currently, EEG operates 15 cinema entertainment centers across the United States, with an additional four in the pipeline.
According to a release, this will include four Violet Crown venues: Austin, West Village - Dallas, Charlottesville, and Santa Fe, adding a total of 30 screens to the group’s 172 already in operation.
The acquisition will diversify EEG’s offerings with its arthouse focus. The acquisition is planned to close by December 2023.
Violet Crown Cinemas will continue to operate under the Violet Crown name and brand.
Bill Banowsky, founder and CEO of Violet Crown Cinemas, said in a statement that, “our journey with Violet Crown has been extraordinary. We've cultivated a unique moviegoing experience that caters to film lovers, and that remains unchanged. I am confident that this acquisition will continue to bring the best film experience to the community, and am grateful that we found a team with the resources, passion, and vision to take Violet Crown to the next level.”
Banowsky, who has a long history in the film industry, will remain a part of Violet Crown Cinemas as an equity partner. Banowsky started his cinema journey in 2001, when he founded Magnolia Pictures, which he sold in 2003. He served as CEO of Landmark Theatres from 2003-2007, then founded Carolina Cinemas in 2008, and started Violet Crown Cinemas in 2010.
Violet Crown opened its first location in Austin, Texas, in 2011 with a focus on art films and hospitality.
Mitch Roberts, founder and CEO of EEG, has a similar legacy as a fourth-generation cinema operator who has grown the company since 2014 to the fastest growing cinema entertainment center organization in the country.
Roberts said in a statement, “Today’s news marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of our long term vision for the future of cinema and entertainment. As an Austin local, Violet Crown is a brand close to my heart and I am honored to be trusted with the task of preserving and expanding their legacy.”