Saskatoon’s movie theatre industry is adhering to the old adage of “out with the old, in with the new.”
As Landmark Cinemas gets ready to open its first Saskatoon location at Brighton Gate this week, Cineplex Entertainment has announced it’s building a new location at The Centre mall.
The seven-screen complex is set to be ready in mid-2019, replacing the current Centre Cinemas operated by Cineplex.
In a news release, the company said six of the seven auditoriums in the new theatre will feature reclining seats, while some will also offer UltraAVX ticketing options.
A seventh auditorium will be geared towards a family experience, with “a colourful interior, playful seating and a curated line-up of films selected just for them.”
The new seating option comes just days after Landmark Cinemas showed off its own reclining seats in a preview tour for Saskatoon cinephiles.
— Craig Silliphant (@craigsilliphant) May 25, 2018
RAINBOW CINEMAS CLOSING DOWN
Saskatoon’s only option for second-run movies is set to close down shortly after Cineplex opens its brand new theatre.
Rainbow Cinemas’ lease at The Centre ends in May 2020.
Tom Hutchinson, president of Rainbow Cinemas parent company Magic Lantern, said they were denied a renewal by the mall.
“We’d love to have re-signed,” he told 650 CKOM.
“However, Cineplex insisted on exclusivity in the mall.”
Rainbow Cinemas has offered a cheaper movie-going option for 25 years, showing blockbuster and family films well after their initial theatre release at ticket prices of $2.00 on Tuesdays and $4.00 every other day.
Hutchinson said they initially wanted to build a new theatre to replace their current structure, which was built in 1993.
He said he’d had numerous discussions over the last 10 years with representatives from Morguard, the company which owns The Centre mall.
“There were different excuses,” Hutchinson said.
“At one point it was that there wouldn’t be enough parking.”
Morguard has not responded to a request for comment.
After years of being unable to come to a deal, Hutchinson turned the company’s attention to Brighton Gate — land which was eventually sold to Landmark for its theatre.
Despite being shut out of a new lease, Hutchinson said he doesn’t bear any ill will towards the mall.
“It happens in business all the time,” he said.
“Saskatoon needs and deserves two brand new theatres. Everything’s good.”
He said discount theatres worked well in the 1990s and early 2000s, but now Magic Lantern is veering away from the business model to focus on theatres in smaller centres like North Battleford.
The company is also going to focus its Saskatoon efforts on the indie-film Roxy Theatre located on 20th Street West.
“The Roxy is safe,” Hutchinson said.