revue cinema

Toronto movie theatre is selling naming rights to its seats in order to survive the pandemic

Toronto's oldest operating movie theatre, the Revue Cinema, is feeling the strain of the pandemic lockdown as much as any other business these days, and has come up with a cool new way to try and raise funds and stay afloat.

The 109-year-old establishment at Roncesvalles and Dundas West, which is operated by the not-for-profit Revue Film Society and listed on the city's heritage register, has decided to start selling naming rights to its seats as part of a new campaign — and so far, it's been a huge success.

On Wednesday, only one day after announcing the fundraiser, the independent venue announced that nearly half of the seats it listed as part of the Save Your Seat initiative were already sold out.

"We are touched by the overwhelming support we have received from the community," Revue wrote in a Facebook post.

Revue Film Society Chairman David Ball says that the funds will help the theatre make it through this very difficult times until they can reopen when its safe to do so next year.

"With many retailers in the city shut, and people struggling for inspiration this holiday season, we thought a seat sale was a good idea," Ball adds.

"Not only does this raise money for the city's favorite independent cinema, it provides people with a unique gift giving idea that is safe, convenient and stress-free.  It's also a nice way for people to support a local business."

Individual seats at the theatre are going for $250, but buyers can save if they buy two or more seats at $200 each. 

Each engraved plaque will include a name and that person's favourite movie, which will remain installed for three years, unless you go for the $2,000 option, which will ensure your legacy remains on the back of one of the cushy blue seats forever.

They will be installed in 2021 before reopening so that fans can come and see their seat up-close and personal upon their first return.

Ball notes that citizens can also support Revue by signing up for a membership, purchasing some exclusive merch or even buying some popcorn from them for weekend at-home movie nights through Skip the Dishes.

Whether you're a movie fan, history buff, or just resident of the city, it would be admittedly pretty cool to have your name affixed on the back of a seat at the most famous and long-standing movie theatre in Toronto, which also happens to be an architectural marvel with its original Art Deco Edwardian facade.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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