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The Royal, Revue and Kingsway to Close


Earlier this week, word broke that three of the Festival Cinemas are slated to close on June 30th. The Globe, the Star, Paved, and Torontoist all have more info and reaction. Matt also weighs in with his thoughts on this week's moviesTO podcast.

Obviously, this news sucks. Let's hope the City of Toronto or someone else emerges as a white knight. Otherwise, this will represent a major blow to the Toronto film and cultural landscape. We hear all this talk about Toronto experiencing a cultural renaissance. Well, with whatever steps this city is taking forward with the new AGO, ROM, Opera House, National Ballet School and other initiatives, the closing of these cinemas will represent one giant step back.

The fact is, we need to find a solution to save the rep cinemas, especially the Royal. To be honest, I don't know much about the economics of this business, but I would suspect ticket sales could be turned around through some of the following initiatives:

* Focus less on second run wide-release films and more on hard to find documentaries and independent films.
* More programming featuring the numerous local film festivals including TIFF.
* More support from the city. City Hall needs to understand that rep cinemas are an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city.

From the Globe article, we know the following:

* The Royal building is up for sale for $2.7 million.
* The Revue will have its lease expire.
* Options being considered for the Kingsway include letting its lease expire, transforming it into a live theatre or putting it up for sale.

At the risk of playing favourites, the first priority must be to ensure the new owner of the Royal building is committed to continuing operating the cinema, and not to sell it to a developer bent on turning it into an event space or worse - condos.


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