INDEPENDENT CINEMAS ACCUSE CINEPLEX OF SHUTTING THEM OUT OF MARKET FOR TOP FILMS

Newly formed small screen alliance says it intends to file complaint with Competition Bureau

The Rio Theatre in Vancouver is one of several independent cinemas across Canada that say they can't access top films because of pressure tactics from Cineplex Entertainment. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

If you’ve been wanting to watch some of this season’s critically acclaimed movies at your local independent cinema, you may be out of luck.

Independent movie theatres across the country say Cineplex Entertainment, which owns about 75 per cent of the screens in Canada, is shutting them out of the market for top films like Oscar winners Parasite and Little Women. 

The recently formed Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE) alleges Cineplex keeps distributors from providing films to other theatres while they’re playing at a Cineplex in that city — even if it’s several kilometres away, for months at a time.

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“It’s frustrating,” said Corinne Lea, owner of the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, who started an online petition to bring attention to the issue. “The way they’re doing it, the small businesses can’t compete.”

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