Big IF for Towne Theatre
Chelsey Mutter - May 21, 2024 - Biz Releases

Following “amazing numbers” at the Towne Theatre’s showing of the blockbuster film IF, the indie theatre is hoping it’ll continue to get more access to big films.

Scott John, managing director and volunteer board member with the Towne, said it’s the first time a studio has allowed the indie theatre to show a major film on its opening weekend and compete with big chain cinemas. He said Paramount Theatrical will now be taking a look at the theatre’s numbers to “mull it over.”

“What’s most important for the studio is that, in total between the two, they made a lot more money out of the movie. Like the Cineplex theatre did almost their normal amount, even with us competing against them,” John said. “The studio made much more. It’s almost 300 per cent of what they would have expected in Vernon.”

John said studios have zone restrictions where only one cinema can show a film in a specific radius.

He said the movie industry is a traditional, legacy-based industry, meaning changes to access will most likely be slow going. But, following the success of the Towne’s showing, John is hoping to see some baby steps to allow theatres like the Towne a more even playing field.

“Not that we ever want to turn into a full first run big blockbuster movie place, but having a few of those would really make a difference to our bottom line,” John said. “That would allow us to support some of our other community programming, our special needs programming, our arthouse programming, our nights for people who are underrepresented in arts and culture.”

Towne was given access after meeting with Paramount Theatrical at a conference and getting the ball rolling. John said being allowed to screen the movie is entirely unique, with the Towne serving as a “first test” of sorts in Canada.

John said the recently completed renovations helped the theatre’s case. He also pointed to the theatre’s bigger room, better system and overall better customer experience.

Other indie cinemas in Canada are expected to be watching the situation in anticipation of gaining greater access to blockbuster films as well.


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