Movie market monopoly: Apollo Cinema joins fight against Cineplex
Published Friday, February 21, 2020 1:18PM EST Last Updated Saturday, February 22, 2020 6:54PM EST
KITCHENER -- Kitchener’s Apollo Cinema is joining forces with independent theatres across Canada taking on Cineplex for its monopoly of the movie market.
The single-screen venue, located on Ontario Street North, aired its grievances with the industry in a Facebook post, writing that it often takes months to screen new releases, if the theatre is able to get access at all.
"The way that film releases work is that they go to the multiplexes first and then we are technically the second-run theatre," said Cara Waston, director of operations for the Apollo Cinema. "We get them after the multiplexes have finished with them and that's kind of the way it has always worked."
The cinema points to a petition by Vancouver's Rio Theatre that claims Cineplex is shutting independent theatres out of the market for top films like Oscar winners Parasite and Little Women.
“We have written a petition to demand that Cineplex stop their bullying tactics by dictating the market and blocking independent theatres from booking films with distributors,” the petition reads.
Rio claims that if a distributor tries to book a film with an indie theatre that’s nearby a Cineplex location, the entertainment giant will threaten to pull their own screenings of that film in the area, spooking distributors into shutting out smaller theatres.
"To clarify, Cineplex does not own the rights to the movies that appear on our screens," said Cineplex in a statement to CTV News. "We license them from Canadian distributors to play in our theatres. It is up to film distributors to decide where they play their films."
Watson says that proof of the accusation exists just by word of mouth.
"The Network of Independent Cinema Exhibitors are starting to compile all of the information that we have so that we have an actual case to present to the Competition Bureau of Canada," she said."
The cinema is asking that the Canadian Competition Bureau step in to enforce the Competition Act that could prevent this type of behaviour.
Cineplex was acquired by British theatre chain Cineworld last December, one of the largest movie companies on the globe.
The change.org petition has received over 11,000 signatures since it was launched.