Small movie theatres in Canada are complaining of unfair competition from Cineplex
Small movie theatres in Canada are struggling to stay afloat as Cineplex dominates the competition — and they're finally fed up.
On February 11, the recently formed Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE) — led by the Rio Theatre in Vancouver — announced that it would officially be lodging a complaint with the Canadian Competition Bureau.
The Rio also launched a petition to "stop Cineplex from crushing indie theatres," which has already amassed 8000+ signatures.
The theatre wrote in its petition that "Cineplex has an informal and unlawful arrangement with film distributors that will not allow films to be booked with any competing theatres until Cineplex is done screening the film."
"This kind of underhanded business practice has made it very difficult for independently owned theatres to survive."
There are so many frustrating examples of Cineplex’s hold on the market (keeping a title on screen for one show at a weirdo hour) just so an indie can’t access it (or better yet, claim the hold, then not play it altogether, which happened to me in December.— Eric Veillette (@veilletteTO) February 17, 2020
Smaller movie theatres will often wait up to six months after a film has been released before Cineplex allows them to screen it; other times, they won't be allowed to play it at all.
On Thursday, the Competition Bureau thanked the Rio Theatre for bringing the matter to their attention.
This isn't the first time that the Rio has asked for help against mounting financial pressures; in 2018, the Vancouver theatre started a petition to save the itself from demolition.
The campaign raised over $500,000, including a donation from Canadian celebrity Ryan Reynolds.
The Competition Bureau has not yet confirmed whether it will be pursuing the Rio Theatre's complaint.
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