Springfield, MO

12 People You Need to Know in 2017: John Martin

Posted online

Last edited 9:33 a.m., Dec. 27, 2016

John Martin’s path to Hollywood was set by the time he was knee high.

On hot summer days in Houston, Texas, Martin regularly pedaled his bike to watch films at the River Oaks Theater, a nearby single-screen movie theater that showed everything from films created in the 1920s to blockbusters. He compares it favorably to the kind of calendar the Moxie Cinema has created locally.

This inspiring introduction to film led Martin to pack his car as soon as he graduated from the University of Texas-Austin and head to the bright lights of Los Angeles. His first job in the city that both crushes and makes dreams was in the mailroom of Orion Pictures. Martin spent over a decade in Hollywood and worked on development and production for a number of notable films, “Dances with Wolves” being one of them. He never wanted to be in the spotlight, instead wanting to help orchestrate, inspire and create.

“I didn’t want to be in front of the camera. I wanted to be part of the moviemaking experience, which I did at the studio level and production companies in L.A.,” he says. 

Eventually, he says, he missed Austin and headed home in 1997. Martin was Director of Broadband for Frog Design from 1998 to 2002, splitting time between Austin, Silicon Valley and Europe. Instead of sitting in the River Oaks Theater, he found himself sitting in the newly created Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and, once again, found himself stealing away to watch films. 

“It happened to be the year that the first Alamo began and I always thought I was the second biggest customer over the years,” he says. 

He and partner Marc Evans purchased the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema company in 2003. Martin ran it as CEO until 2010. 

In that time span, Martin says the company grew from five or six locations to 15 and created a platform to expand Alamo Drafthouse coast-to-coast.

Now, Martin and Evans, via Springboard Ventures LLC, have 25 locations from San Francisco to New York. Known for operating restaurants and bars in its theaters and employing a zero-tolerance policy toward cellphone usage during screenings, the company is set to open the system’s largest Alamo Drafthouse in Springfield by spring 2017. [Editor's note: Alamo Drafthouse was originally scheduled to open in February, but officials pushed back the launch.]

“Fifty-five thousand square feet, 14 screens – it will be wonderful,” Martin says. 

Neither of the partners had ever stepped foot in Springfield until discovering the availability of Campbell 16 Cine. They purchased flights and headed to the Ozarks to check out the area and the market. 

He says the experience of learning about Springfield has been eye opening: the friendliness; the progressive, pro-business mindset; and the extensive craft brewery and restaurant scenes. They plan on locally sourcing food and beverage as much as possible, he says.

“It’s a business that I’ve wrapped my head around and I enjoy it,” he says. “It’s not really work. In my eyes, it is an extension of my love of film and food and everything in between.” 


No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick

Crossroads in Republic ripe for industrial park

Two buildings in a budding Republic industrial park just might be the welcome mat officials need.

Most Read
SBJ Live logo
Training Bootcamp: Training Needs Assessment

All workplace problems have root causes. When will training be the solution? Sherry Coker, OTC Center for Workforce Development business development director, provides you the framework of a training needs assessment, which will uncover the root causes of a workplace problem and help you determine if training is the solution. A download is available at with a complete outline for an effective training needs assessment. This is sponsored content. Duration: 2:29

Don’t Micro-Manage Are you guilty of micromanaging your employees? “If we’re going to require them to be that educated when they come to work for us, should we not let them do their job? They should know so much …
Seek Wisdom from Many “My whole life goal is to change the world, one connection at a time,” says Keisha Mabry. Mabry, who is an author, speaker, and social entrepreneur, says she had a “quarter-life crisis” and …
DNA Uncovers Best Version of You A simple swab of the inside of your cheek can lead to optimizing your nutrition and fitness program, personal medication profile, in addition to your ancestry. According to Austin O’Reilly, owner …
Booked - Go Back to the Basics “You’ve gotta go back to the basics,” says Larry Peterson, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield Missouri. Peterson says he gains leadership advice from General Ulysses S. …