Second-run theatres, or discount/dollar theatres as they’re sometimes known, are closing more and more frequently, but Hollywood 3 Cinema in Pitt Meadows still has its head above water, according to owner Moby Amarsi.
Coming off the recent closure of the Hollywood 3 Cinema in Surrey, a lot of communities are seeing their second-run theatres continuing to struggle to keep their doors open.
However, Amarsi explained that the Pitt Meadows location isn’t going anywhere and is actually continuing to make improvements to its facility as it tries to rebound back to pre-pandemic attendance levels.
“I don’t see anything happening to us in the near future, we love our location,” said Amarsi. “We’re putting in new seats in the next week or so.”
“We’re not anywhere near pre-pandemic numbers. Unfortunately, a lot of seniors still don’t feel comfortable coming out to a theatre.”
Amarsi is not alone in this struggle, with Canada Media Fund reporting that most movie theatres are still sitting at 60 to 70 per cent lower audience levels than in 2019.
In addition to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amarsi also partially blames these low attendance numbers on the fact that second-run theatres like his are having to wait even longer to show new movies.
According to the owner of Rio Theatre in Vancouver, there have been times when the theatre has been forced to wait up to six months after the initial theatrical release to book the film.
“We get our movies long after Cineplex, and a lot of them are already streaming by the time we can play them,” said Armasi.
Despite these challenges, Amarsi believes that discount theatres like his still have a prominent role in communities, both big and small.
“We’re very affordable to a lot of people and are an integral part of the community,” he said. “Going to the first-run theatres can get quite expensive, especially with kids. Schools and senior homes find us very convenient.”
With ticket price being the third-highest determining factor for moviegoers, according to a study done by Telefilm Canada, having deeply discounted movie prices serves as a big advantage for second-run theatres.
“We also do a lot of screenings for producers with small movies that can’t afford the big theatres. I’d say we get at least one to two [screening] requests a month.”
Looking forward, Amarsi is hopeful that the new year will lead to some much-needed improvements in how second-run theatres are treated in communities.
“I’m hoping 2023 will bring better product and make seniors more comfortable in returning,” said Amarsi. There’s already a lot more movies in the pipeline like Avatar 2 and Puss in Boots, which are big movies that help draw in a lot of people.”
Hollywood 3 Cinema is located at 19190 Lougheed Hwy. in Pitt Meadows and is open 365 days a year.
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