This past weekend has not been kind to local movie buffs, who have lost two movie outlets: a Richmond theatre and an East Vancouver video store.
Famous Players Richmond Centre 6 Cinemas, located at the Richmond Shopping Centre on No. 3 Road in Richmond, played its last films and faded to black forever on Sunday (March 27).
The theatre had been open since 1990 with approximately 1900 seats in six screening rooms.
Cineplex Odeon director of communications Kyle Moffatt told the Straight by phone that the closure of the 20-year-old theatre had nothing to do with box office sales. "The reason for our closing is our lease ended and the mall wants to redevelop."
The closest alternate Cineplex Odeon location in Richmond is SilverCity Riverport at 14211 Entertainment Way.
However, Cineplex Odeon added a new downtown location to their chain last year when the company purchased Cinemark Tinseltown (now known as Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas) on November 26, 2010.
Meanwhile, there was sad news in East Vancouver. Happy Bats Cinema, located at 2832 Main Street, wasn't so happy when it closed its doors on Friday (March 25). The video store announced on its website that it had shut down rather unexpectedly.
The store had posted a blog entry in February to reassure customers that they would not be closing even though there was a "for lease" sign in their window. They stated that they could "no longer sustain the shop where we are" and were looking for a new location.
Unfortunately, according to their site, they weren't able to find a new location before "before the locks were changed on our doors".
In other news, the Ridge Theatre is facing a somewhat uncertain future—yet again.
Last year, the lease for the 60-year-old venue, run by Festival Cinemas, was set to expire in December. At the time, Festival Cinemas president Leonard Schein was uncertain if he would be able to continuing running the theatre.
"Unless we could negotiate an acceptable rent, we wouldn't be renewing our lease," Festival Cinemas president Leonard Schein told the Straight said by phone. "But we did. We were able to negotiate an acceptable rent."
However, Schein says the entire stripmall on Arbutus Street that the Ridge is located at is now up for sale. What becomes of the Ridge Theatre remains to be seen.
"It depends on who buys it," Schein says. "They may want to hold it, the way her [the owner's] family has held it for a number of years. They may decide to tear it down and put up condos, or they may decide to tear it down and put up a multiplex movie theatre. Once there's a new landlord, we'll certainly be talking to them."
Schein says that Park Theatre, which Festival Cinemas has run since 1990 with the same landlord, is still doing well. "So far, it's gone 21 years without them tearing it down so hopefully it'll stay a while longer. But as a tenant, it's out of our hands."
Although he says he lost money at that location during the Cambie Street construction for the Canada Line, which lasted almost four year until 2009, he reports that business is back up to pre-construction levels.