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Independent theatres across Canada rally for better access to films


After a petition was launched by the Rio over 30 other cinemas have joined the fight to get access to popular screenings

Theaters are claiming they are not allowed to screen popular movies until after Cineplex airs them

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –¬†More than 30 independent theatres across Canada are backing a petition created by Vancouver’s Rio Theatre claiming Cineplex is blocking indie theaters from booking films with distributors until the cinema giant has finished screening them.

Corrine Lea is with the Rio Theatre and says indie theatres are being squashed by the movie giant.

“So many independent theatres are not able to get access to the current movie titles that you want to see,” she says.

The Rio and several other theatres have joined the Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors to submit evidence to the Competition Bureau over what they call Cineplex’s ‘frowned upon practices’.

The Rio first launched the petition last month, since then support has quickly grown from 800 signatures to more than 18,000.

Lea says while she’s pleased with the support, more needs to be done to bring movies to smaller theatres.

“We are forming together to have safety in numbers and hoping that we can get the Competition Bureau to take action,” she says. “But with the alliance, we have evidence from theatres all across Canada.”

Cineplex has maintained its stance, saying for a second time in an email that “Cineplex does not own the rights to the movies that appear on our screens. We license them from Canadian distributors to play in our theatres. It’s up to film distributors to decide where they play their films”.

The Competition Bureau says it’s aware of the petition but cannot confirm if it’s investigating the issue due to confidentiality.