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Vancouver's Rio Theatre pushes back against Cineplex

Last Updated Feb 13, 2020 at 9:25 pm PDT

Summary

More than 5,000 people have signed the petition asking the Canadian Competition Bureau to step in. 

Smaller theatres have been waiting months to screen Best Picture winner "Parasite" -- but can't

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver’s Rio Theatre is taking on Cineplex, launching a petition to stop the movie giant from blocking screenings at independent theatres.

Corinne Lea, operator of the Rio, says Cineplex has long dominated the Canadian movie market but notes it’s been worse over the last year.

She says many smaller theatres have been waiting months to screen Best Picture winner “Parasite” — but can’t because it’s still playing in Cineplex theatres.

“There’s just no logical reason for why they’re making indie theatres wait so long other than greed. They’re just not willing to share and I don’t see any good reason why they shouldn’t be forced to.”

Lea says an upcoming change has operators like her worried that things will get worse.

“There’s a big merger that’s going to be happening where Cineworld is purchasing Cineplex, that will make them one of the largest movie chains in North America and so we feel that if it’s already tough to get movies it’s certainly not going to get any easier,” she explains.

More than 5,000 people have signed the petition asking the Canadian Competition Bureau to step in.

“Competition law prohibits businesses from: Entering into anti-competitive agreements or concerted practices with others. Competition law applies not only to formal agreements but also to any sort of informal arrangement between businesses, whether written or verbal, which has an anti-competitive object or effect,” the petition reads.

“We ask that Cineplex cease and desist their bullying tactics dictating the market and blocking independent  theatres from booking films with distributors. We expect the corporation  to follow the lawful practices that were put in place to protect small businesses from a monopoly dominating the market.”

The bureau says it’s taking a look at the information and won’t hesitate to take action under the Competition Act if they find the market’s been negatively impacted by Cineplex’s actions.

With files from CHNL