The Future of Cinema in Vancouver

July 18, 2017
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In the age of Netflix, Hulu and other stream channels, can cineplexes in Vancouver survive?

Cinemas are struggling across the globe. Last year, publications including Vanity Fair were calling 2016 Hollywood’s worst year for ticket sales in a century. As more consumers turn to digital platforms to watch films they are less likely to go to the cinema. Cineplex believes they have an effective way to combat this and are building two new cinemas that will put an emphasis on VIP service.

The Vancouver Sun reported that Cineplex is opening two new cinemas, one at the Park Royal shopping centre in West Vancouver, and another at the Brentwood Town Centre in Burnaby. The cinemas will have VIP sections that will target an adult crowd rather than the traditional teenage audience. The VIP sections will offer customers a more formal cinematic experience. These rooms will have reclining chairs alongside food and bar services.

The Brentwood Town Centre Cineplex will include the first Rec Room location in British Columbia. The Rec Room is a large space within the Cineplex that offers live entertainment, bar service, restaurants and amusement games. Cineplex Inc. CEO Ellis Jacob told The Star that the target market is millennials who want to hangout away from a small living space. The hope is that customers at the Rec Room will include a visit to the cinema. A Cineplex in Toronto has already opened with a Rec Room and the company plans to roll out the concept across the country. Both new Cineplex cinemas will open in 2019.

Cinemas across the globe are adapting to the digital age as consumer demand has changed. Cinemas are competing against smartphones and tablets that allow consumers to watch high definition films at their convenience. Not only can fans access films and TV shows via mobile technology, they can also of interact with their favourite shows through multiple media platforms. For example, fans of Family Guy can access the show through online streaming services such as Netflix then interact with the show on different digital platforms including Slingo who have their own Family Guy slots game. It is no wonder that cinemas are adding extra features to keep up with the pace that the digital market is moving at.

The Vancouver cinema scene had already come up with a few ways to attract more audiences. One of the most successful methods has been through free outdoor movies. Vancouver’s Best Places created a list of the outdoor cinema locations including Stanley Park and Canada Place. Outdoor cinemas are a great place to watch a range of films for free. At Stanley Park the film schedule includes this year’s smash hits The Lego Batman Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, alongside film classics The Goonies and Jaws. The site even posted two useful tips for those planning to visit one of the outdoor cinemas. They revealed that audiences should get there early and bring extra blankets as the films start at dusk.

Looking for a more traditional cinema experience? Check out the Pacific Cinematheque for art house films made close to home and from around the globe.