The screens at Empire Oakridge Cinemas have gone dark.
The Oakridge theatre, owned by the Nova Scotia–based Empire chain since 2005, closed on Monday (January 2). The closure will affect about 25 employees.
Three Empire locations remain in Metro Vancouver: Empire Studio 12 Guildford (Surrey), Granville 7 Cinemas (in downtown Vancouver), and Esplanade 6 (in North Vancouver). The only other British Columbia locations are two theatres in Victoria.
This latest closure follows the shuttering of several local independent DVD rental stores (including Videomatica, Independent Flixx, Happy Bats) and chains (Blockbuster, some Rogers Video locations), and two movie theatres.
Famous Players Richmond Centre 6 Cinemas closed on March 27. The Hollywood Theatre (at 3123 West Broadway) shut down on May 29 after 75 years in operation.
In other local movie theatre news over the past year, the Rio Theatre was sold to Festival Cinemas (which runs the Park, the Ridge, and Fifth Avenue Cinemas) in May. Rio Theatre manager Corinne Lea had been attempting to convert the theatre into a multimedia concert venue but provincial liquor laws prevent venues that show feature films from obtaining a liquor license.
Meanwhile, other theatres are attempting to attract moviegoers by offering more sophisticated, upscale theatres. Cineplex Entertainment invested $2.1 million in outfitting SilverCity Coquitlam with five VIP Cinemas, which opened in December. These special theatres are restricted to moviegoers 19 years and older; feature larger seats, front-row reclining seats, and online seat reservations; and allow attendees to order food into the theatre.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.