Cineplex to Open First Barco Escape Theaters in Canada

Star Trek Beyond Trailer grab - H 2015
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The three-screen movie experience will launch here in time for the release of a special version of 'Star Trek Beyond' for Barco-equipped auditoriums.

Barco is entering the Canadian market with its three-screen digital cinema designed to immerse viewers in a movie with a Cinerama-like experience.

Canadian exhibition giant Cineplex, which already has enormous Imax screens to attract premium ticket buyers, has inked a deal for three Barco Escape auditoriums to open in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton. The Escape format is designed with three screens and three projectors — one in the front of the auditorium and one on each side — to create an immersive experience.

The Barco Escape theaters will open in time for the July 22 release of a special version of J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Beyond. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions remastered Star Trek Beyond to include an expanded 20-plus minutes, to reach out across the young Escape format's panoramic tri-screen display.

"We are proud that Cineplex continues to lead the way by offering Canadian movie lovers the latest in innovative premium experiences, and Barco Escape is no exception," Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob said in a statement. Cineplex, which features mostly studio tentpoles and other Hollywood fare on its screens, is also embracing Barco as, like Imax, it works with top filmmakers, including Abrams and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Act of Valor director Scott Waugh recently announced he will helm the first feature shot entirely for Barco Escape, 6 Below, to star Josh Hartnett. The producers are eyeing a late-2016 release.

U.S.-based Bridgegate Pictures and VMI Worldwide lead a consortium that will finance and produce six sci-fi, action and thriller films to be shot for Barco Escape. The first film, The Recall, is set to hit theaters later this year.

Barco expects to have around 50 Escape-equipped theater installations open in time for the Star Trek Beyond release.