Rio Theatre opens tonight followed by Cineplex theatre openings on Friday

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      An indie movie house and arts venue is back in business tonight in East Vancouver with two shows focusing on race relations.

      The Rio Theatre will reopen tonight with a sold-out show of Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, starring Lee, Danny Aiello, Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro, Ossie Davis, and Rosie Perez. It will also be shown at the Rio on Saturday (July 4) at 7:30 p.m., Monday (July 6) at 9:30 p.m, and 6:30 p.m. next Thursday (July 9).

      Tonight's show will be followed by writer-director Jordan Peele's 2017 horror film, Get Out, about a young African American who learns something disturbing when he meets his white girlfriend's family. 

      Peele won an Oscar for best screenplay and the film was nominated for three other Academy Awards, including best picture. It stars Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford, and will also be shown on Friday (July 3) at 10:30 p.m.

      Capacity in the theatre is limited to 50 people, due to an order by the provincial health officer.

      Other screenings scheduled at the Rio include Fantastic Fungi (5:15 p.m., Friday; 9:30 p.m. Monday; 6 p.m. Wednesday [July 8]), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (7:30 p.m. Friday), Parasite (4:20 p.m. Saturday; 9:30 p.m. Tuesday [July 7] and next Thursday), Jaws (10:30 p.m. Saturday; 6:30 p.m. Sunday [July 5] and Tuesday), and Vertigo (8:15p.m. Wednesday).

      For those with children, the Rio is screening Trolls World Tour on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. and on Sunday at 1 p.m.

      Another Vancouver independent theatre, the Dunbar, has remained open throughout the pandemic, limiting seating to 50 people. Owner Ken Charko has rented out the venue for special screenings.

      The Dunbar Theatre remained open throughout the pandemic, with rentals to groups of fewer than 50 people and by selling popcorn and other concession food on a takeout basis.
      Dunbar Theatre

      Meanwhile, Cineplex is reopening some of its Metro Vancouver theatres on Friday with $5 entrance fees.

      There will be physically distanced movies at its multiplexes at Scotiabank Theatre in Vancouver, SilverCity Riverport in Richmond, Metropolis at Metrotown, Strawberry Hill in Surrey, and in Langley.

      Cineplex plans on reopening all of its B.C. theatres in July and all will have reserved seating. Payment will only be accepted by credit, debit, or gift cards.

      In addition, Cineplex will limit its food offerings to popcorn and other "core concessions".

      “The past three months have given us a new appreciation for the importance of friends and family and the power of shared experiences with those we love,” Cineplex president and CEO Ellis Jacob said in a company statement. “Entertaining is what we do best, and we simply can’t wait to safely welcome guests back to our theatres for some much deserved entertainment, fun and escape.”

      The pandemic has been especially rough on Cineplex.

      In the first three months of this year, the Toronto-based company posted a net loss of $178.4 million, compared to a net loss of $7.4 million over the same period in 2019.

      Cineplex was slated to be taken over by U.K.-based Cineworld, which backed out of the transaction after the movie industry shut down due to the pandemic.

      "Cineplex expects to file a statement of claim in the Ontario courts in the near term seeking to recover damages arising from Cineworld's repudiation and breaches of the Arrangement Agreement and its other contractual obligations and failure to complete the Transaction at $34.00 per common share," the company said on June 29.

      This morning, Cineplex shares are trading at $8.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.