Metro Vancouver movie theatres continue to struggle

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In addition to a reduction in theatre capacity, Van Lange says they also changed the way showings are programmed.

“In previous times, if there was a new blockbuster coming out and we knew that droves of people were going to be seeing it, we would have put it on two screens or maybe three screens in order to accommodate the number of people and have a lot of options with respect to showtimes,” Van Lange says. “Now, when a larger movie comes out, it means we are going to be putting it on five our six screens.”

Despite making similar changes at their theatre locations, Rahim Manji, proprietor of the family run Hollywood 3 Theatres in Surrey and Pitt Meadows as well as the Caprice Cinemas in White Rock and Duncan, says their business is facing a very uncertain future.

“We’re not finding enough people to come back,” Manji says. “I don’t know if our doors will be open. It’s a big struggle.”

Manji says they’ve seen a 90-93 per cent reduction in the number of customers since reopening in June. One of the biggest barriers, Manji says, is getting the word out to moviegoers that it is, indeed, safe to go see a film.

“We strive to do everything we can to keep our guests and our employees safe. We’ve met and exceeded public health guidelines. We’re extra cautious,” Manji stresses. “As soon as someone comes in and tries it, we see that they come back. Because they see what we’re doing.”

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