Cineplex Ent. launches multifaceted multiplex

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TORONTO -- Looking to rewrite the Canadian exhibition playbook, Cineplex Entertainment on Friday launched Canada's first entertainment destination that combines a 12-screen multiplex with varied family leisure activities.

Toronto-based Cineplex, Canada's largest exhibition chain, said the SilverCity Oakville Cinemas complex in Burlington, Ontario, goes beyond Hollywood movies as it offers VIP theaters, bowling, billiards, lounges and retail stores, among other leisure activities.

Cineplex said it hopes the 45,000-square-foot complex with seating for as many as 2,292 patrons will be the first of many one-stop entertainment destinations countrywide as the chain looks to offset a slump in Hollywood moviegoing and extract the maximum revenue from its existing 131 theaters and 1,326 screens countrywide.

"This is the next generation in theater entertainment with many new amenities and services under one roof," Ellis Jacob, Cineplex president and CEO, said at a launch party Thursday night.

In all, nine next-generation Christie digital projectors will go into the Oakville multiplex, while three theaters will retain traditional 35mm projectors as the exhibitor completes its transition from film to digital.

"They want to make sure they have their bases covered," said Dave Muscat, director of sales at Kitchener, Ontario-based Christie.

Cineplex Odeon has chosen to shoulder the expense of the Christie projectors, which cost around $100,000 each.

Until now, Cineplex Odeon relied on Hollywood movies and concession sales to drive its revenue.

In recent years, however, the Canadian chain has ramped up its cinema advertising business, and used emerging digital technologies to diversify into big-event programming. This includes enabling Canadians to view live Met operas and ballets from New York City and World Wresting Entertainment events, for example, on the big screen.
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