For Cineplex, Canadian and moviegoers, an existential crisis looms


A person walking through a Cineplex theatre in Toronto, Dec. 16, 2019.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press

This movie sucks. Since March, the world has felt like a particularly bad disaster movie – too long, cliché and implausible. We all want the end credits roll; we all want to come back to reality. That is, for some, includes going to the cinema to see a legitimately good disaster movie. Something like Tenetthe last sci-fi head-trip from Christopher Nolan, who will be one of the first major Hollywood to welcome audiences back to the multiplex, should Warner Bros. to maintain its recently postponed the release date of July 31.

But trying to imagine the next phase of going to the cinema in Canada makes my head hurt, even more than trying to summarize Tenet’s of the plot (something about time travel-but-not-of-concept of “inversion;” it is going to make as much sense as Nolan Creation, and we’ll continue to think that it is cool). Most of this unease centers on the status of Cineplex, in Canada, the greatest exponent, which is facing an existential crisis is emblematic of the entire film industry. And it might be the public who suffer the consequences.

To summarize quickly the important issues of the drama: In December, Cineplex, representing about 75 percent of the domestic box office market share, have agreed to a $ 2.2 billion takeover from united kingdom giant Cineworld. The case, which would have seen Cineworld’s take on the amount of 625 million dollars of debt owed by Cineplex – has been seen as something vital for the company, based in Toronto. As streaming has increased in recent years, the theater, attendance has decreased.

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Flash-forward to last week – and a whole new world, in which the theatres are closed by shutters with COVID-19 – and Cineworld has cancelled the agreement, alleging that coca-cola breached certain terms of the agreement, including not to the operation of its business “in the normal course of business.” Cineplex the fire immediately, noting that the agreement represented “the onset of the disease or other acts of God,” and alleging that Cineworld is using the pandemic as a cover for “buyer’s remorse.”

Elizabeth Debicki and John David Washington, the star of Christopher Nolan’s Principle, intended to be one of the first major releases to welcome the public back to the cinema – assumming Warner Bros sticks to the 31 July release date.

Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

Cineplex now plans to bring an action against his former suitor, all while he is engaged in an extremely complicated reconfiguration of its business. This week, the company announced that it will open “as many of its facilities as may 3 July (or shortly after, to the extent permitted by law),” with the new “end-to-end” health and safety.

“The day when our doors closed was the day, our team began diligently preparing for the security of the re-opening. … And that involves many, many, many measures and operational changes put in place,” Sarah Van Lange, Cineplex executive director of communications, said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail, adding that the company will soon launch a microsite outlining the new initiatives. “We used the last three months to review all of our buildings and processes, so that when our theaters and entertainment venues to reopen, we will be ready to keep them this way.”

Recent studies suggest confined public are ready. AMERICAN digital ticketing platform Atom Tickets released a poll in May which said that 77 percent of respondents, is back in cinemas in a few months time, then that research will be conducted by the Logit Group for the Cineplex at the end of April found that 34% of Canadian movie-goers are expected to return to theatres in the first month of reopening (with a number ranging up to 80 percent for returns sometimes in 2020).

Personally, once the theatres are given the green light, I’ll be there. To begin with, I’m bored of the movies desperately. But it also sounds as if Cineplex is appropriate to put in place sanitary measures. Van Lange says auditoriums will have reserved seats to ensure the physical remoteness, the employees wear masks and PPE and, “the following tips from the Canada Public Health Agency, we recommend our clients to do the same.” According to the experts, there is little reason to believe that the cinema, especially physically distant, are the source of epidemics. In Addition, by supporting the film industry at this disastrous era, in an industry that I can rely on my own means of subsistence is not a small thing.

But I imagine, and understand, that others will feel differently.

Even with the most robust cleaning protocols, the thought of being surrounded by strangers inside of two hours must not exactly be comforting for some. Take the usual joys of a night at the movies – the concessions will still be available, even if it is impossible to guess if the public engage in the munching of popcorn and slurping of soda with the same enthusiasm; reduction of the capacity of the auditorium means the thrill of a sold-out audience’s reaction will be cut down, and an evening at home watching the new Judd Apatow comedy starts to look like a good deal, financially and psychologically.

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Then, it is the only factor of unpredictability of the fall, as fears of a second wave of persuade Hollywood to scrap its release schedule once more. Add a legal precedent in the fight for the mixture, and it is becoming increasingly clear that Cineplex is facing challenges too huge to articulate properly. It is somewhat surprising that Tim Casey, Bank of Montreal analyst, noted this week that Cineplex revenues could be reduced by half this year.

And although some parts of Canada could encourage any hypothetical disappearance – just before the pandemic struck, the new Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors accused of Cineplex unfair booking of tactics that will Cineplex, so goes Canadian go to the cinema.

Landmark Cinemas, the country’s second-largest movie chain with 46 theaters, said on Tuesday that it will reopen six of Alberta, the premises on the 26 June and hope to work more on 3 July. On the same day, the Cinemas Guzzo said its 10 Quebec locations will resume on 3 July, too. But the 165-theatre-fort Cineplex dwarves at once.

The National Association of theatre Owners, which has Cineplex president and ceo Ellis Jacob, the president often likes to remind its members, and cynical film journalists, movie theatres have survived a myriad of disturbances throughout their history: television, VHS, DVD, streaming. But just because you’ve survived four shots does not mean that the fifth paragraph (not to kill you. This kind of miracle only happens in the movies.

AMC Entertainment announced Tuesday that it plans to reopen theatres in the world – with a limited capacity and secure seats in July. Reuters

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