Toronto Adds Princess of Wales Theater As Opening Weekend Movie Launch-Pad

The Toronto International Film Festival's takeover of the city's downtown after launching Bell Lightbox continues with plans for red carpet premieres in the adjoining Princess of Wales Theater on King Street.

TORONTO --  In a surprise move, the Toronto International Film Festival has announced it will screen movie premieres at the Princess of Wales Theater on its opening weekend in September. 

  The prestigious venue, a stone’s throw from Bell Lightbox on King Street and across the street from the festival's Roy Thomson Hall Oscar launch-pad, traditionally showcases live theatre productions like Disney's The Lion King in Toronto.

  The giant Princess of Wales Theater, which has 1500 seats, will instead accommodate star-driven red carpet events for TIFF from September 9 to 12, 2011.

  The move, besides dramatically turning up the Hollywood star wattage on King Street, also partners the Toronto film festival with David Mirvish, head of Mirvish Productions, the city’s largest live theater producer.

  Occupying the Princess of Wales also opens up a new venue for Hollywood studios launching Oscar campaigns in Toronto, and indie pictures looking for U.S. and other international buyers on the festival's high-profile opening weekend.

  Toronto organizers promise a film- and digital-based projection and audio system for the festival screenings at the Princess of Wales. 

  “We’ll be equipping the venue with the ability to play 35mm, DCP and HDCAM formats, and we’re confident that audiences will enjoy a stellar viewing experience,” said Natalie Lue, vp of operations and production at TIFF.

  The 36th Toronto International Film Festival is set to run from September 8 to 18, 2011.