The Rise of the Independents: Momentum Continues for Independent Cinemas Through the Independent Cinema Alliance

Image Courtesy of Independent Cinema Alliance

Since its founding in 2019, the Independent Cinema Alliance (ICA) has dedicated its efforts to empowering independent filmmakers and movie theater owners and operators in the North American market. Its membership reaches from coast to coast, with hundreds of screens that represent an eclectic mix of regional and midsize circuits, art houses, and Main Street cinemas. The ICA champions all its members, regardless of size, giving them a voice to address the challenges facing independent theaters while promoting their impact on the cultural and economic health of their local communities.

As a group, the ICA represents more than 4,750 screens in the domestic market—with a goal to represent 5,000 screens by the end of the year. Established by independents for independents, the ICA is leading the charge to champion the importance of independent cinemas to a dynamic and vibrant motion picture industry. “When we founded the ICA in 2019, we wanted to tackle unique issues facing independent cinema owners,” says Bill Campbell, ICA chairman and ICA founding board member. Rich Daughtridge, ICA president and president and CEO of Warehouse Cinemas, acknowledges the strides the trade association has made since its founding. “We have made great progress in 2022 and early 2023, and we’re excited to further the cause of independent cinemas later this year and beyond. We have a tremendous amount of momentum right now,” he says.

Through strategic advocacy and initiatives, the ICA communicates with leading industry stakeholders to promote innovative pro-independent cinema solutions. It also educates and informs public policy makers of the value movie theaters bring to communities across America. For many small towns and cities across the country, a movie theater is often the anchor that brings additional foot traffic and revenue to restaurants, shops, and new developments.

The ICA is focusing on three major objectives in 2023. A primary target is strengthening relationships with film distributors. While independent circuits may not have as much leverage as the majors when working with distributors one on one, the ICA can help independents make their voices heard as a group. Secondly, the ICA plans to continue building its robust buying group, the ICA Marketplace, to help members reduce costs and increase revenues with industry vendors. And last but not least, the ICA will focus on developing more innovative marketing programs to help increase ticket sales for members and ROI for film distributors.

Membership in the ICA is open to any independent who operates 500 or fewer screens, represents no more than 2 percent of the domestic box office, and is not publicly traded or owned by a major content supplier. To join the ICA, visit

Image Courtesy of Independent Cinema Alliance

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