Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced today that the company has sold its high-end collectibles arm Mondo to Funko, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The founder of the US-based cinema chain, Tim League, released a joint statement with Mondo explaining that economic shock and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic paved the way for this deal.
League helped co-found Mondo in 2004 as an extension of Alamo Drafthouse that would offer original artwork and designs inspired by their films to patrons. Since then, Mondo has become known for its high-end merchandise - it often sells vinyl soundtracks, VHS copies, apparel and posters for popular media and cult hits, alike.
Those in the tabletop sphere will also recognise Mondo as a publisher of several board games, both one-offs and series. They have a long history of working alongside Restoration Games on the Unmatched line of 1-vs-1 miniature board games, but the company also worked more directly on the deduction and deception-heavy title, The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 in 2017.
Selling off Mondo to one of the largest purveyors of pop culture-derived plastic was largely motivated by what League calls two “brutal and harrowing” years in which Alamo filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and closed locations in several cities to keep from going completely under. It was far from the only cinema to feel the financial squeeze, but they had a not-so-secret weapon that allowed them to bounce back.
“While we were closed, however, Mondo was our saving grace, the only facet of our business that kept the lights on,” League said in the press release. “Now, Alamo is seizing opportunities to grow our cinema footprint with seven new locations across the country that have been announced recently and more to come. As the company resources are focused on this growth, we realized that perhaps a bold and exciting new chapter is about to begin for Mondo.”
“Over the past few months, we searched exhaustively to find a perfect partner who saw what was unique and special about Mondo and was in a position to meaningfully invest in Mondo, nurture the team, and further its reach and vision. Funko is exactly that unicorn,” League continued.
Mondo’s team members will reportedly stay intact during the transition and become Funko employees. Further, League claims Mondo will “continue their same work with the same creative vision,” implying a level of autonomy within its new parent owner. This mirrors the acquisition of board game studio Prospero Hall, which is currently designing the upcoming legacy title Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar. The designers have said that Funko does not set their creative agenda and simply provides them with more resources than they would have as a solo studio.
In its own statement, Mondo seemed to confirm this by saying Funko “understand(s) what Mondo is today and are eager to help us become the company we want to be.”
“From the outside, Mondo might seem like it is changing... but on the inside much is staying the same," the company said. "We remain the same team, and our goals remain unchanged. We are still the same bunch of weirdos who share an undying obsession with popular (and maybe less popular) culture, and a craving to make cool stuff with the best artists in the world.”