Published Feb 11, 2020In 2018, with the help of fans and some guys named Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Smith, long-running Vancouver indie cinema the Rio Theatre managed to save itself from being sold off. Now, however, it claims to face another foe — giant chain theatres.
The Rio has launched a new Change.org petition entitled "Stop Cineplex from blocking films at Indie Theatres!"
In a statement, representatives from the theatre said, "If you're wondering why you don't see Oscar winning films like Parasite and Jojo Rabbit at The Rio Theatre even after they've been playing at Cineplex for months? The answer is because Cineplex has a monopoly on the market that has gone unchecked for years and it's crushing indie theatres across Canada."
In its petition, the Rio goes on to allege the following:
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. If a distributor tries to book a film with an indie theatre anywhere near a Cineplex location, the cinema giant will simply threaten to pull all of their screenings of that particular film in the area. Leaving the distributors no choice but to shut out the smaller independent theatres that simply cannot compete under these unfair terms. This kind of underhanded business practice has made it very difficult for independently owned theatres to survive and limits the public access to popular movies in our local neighbourhood.
The full petition can be read and signed here.
Last year, Cineplex was acquired by the U.K. company Cineworld for $2.8 billion USD.