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Cineplex tests $1 reserved seating surcharge at some Star Wars screenings

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  • TORONTO — Cineplex Inc. is giving Star Wars fans a surprise twist at the box office by charging an extra dollar for assigned seating at some showings.

    The country’s biggest exhibitor has tacked on a surcharge at select regular screenings of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” across Canada in hopes moviegoers will be willing to pay more for not waiting in line.

    It’s a move the company says makes it convenient when a screening is sold out, which often leaves latecomers hunting for empty seats.

    While reserved seating isn’t entirely new at Cineplex, the cost has usually been built into ticket prices for the company’s premium Imax, VIP and UltraAVX theatres. The exhibitor also experimented with charging an extra $2 for “prime seats” at the centre of a few of its busier theatres.

    But it has not previously rolled out the concept at what it calls “regular” screenings — movies shown in traditional auditoriums without the additional costs associated with 3D or a larger screen.

    With “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” likely to be the biggest film of the year, Cineplex wanted to gauge how audiences reacted to the concept on a wider scale. The company says about 20 per cent of its Canadian locations are testing the $1 fee for reserved seats at regular screenings.

    If the concept is received positively, it’s likely Cineplex will revisit the reserved seating at regular screenings for other event movies expected to draw huge crowds.

    The move comes as Cineplex (TSX:CGX) and other theatre owners hunt for ways to boost profits at a time when a night at the movies competes with a raft of other convenient entertainment alternatives, like Netflix.

    Screenings of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” have put an extra financial squeeze on North American exhibitors after Disney revealed a number of unusual requirements for any theatre wanting to screen the film.

    Disney told exhibitors it would pocket about 65 per cent of the box-office revenues from Star Wars tickets. Traditionally, distributors take about half of the box-office revenue for a movie.

    The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Disney’s move cuts deeply into exhibitor profits for the biggest movie of the holiday season.

    It was widely expected that theatre owners would look to recoup their lost share in other places, like hiking the price of concession items and boosting ticket prices wherever possible.

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    David Friend, The Canadian Press


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    2019 Canada Winter Games

    Wealth Advisor by day. Leading Man by night. John Young rips up the dance floor at Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off

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  • Born and raised in Red Deer, John Young appreciates the cause for the 2018 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off like few others.  The Branch Manager at RBC Dominion Securities, his office is just a block or so away from Celebration Plaza, the area being developed to serve the 2019 Canada Winter Games.  John appreciates the arts, culture, sports, and downtown development.  There’s no doubt Celebration Plaza will be one of the places John and his young family will be making memories together.  Speaking of making memories… here’s John Young and his always fabulous Professional Dance Partner Jody Liptak with their romantic and rocking performance at the 2018 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off.

    Proceeds from the 2018 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will help build an incredible new park in downtown Red Deer.  The Canada Games Celebration Plaza will be headquarters for our entire community during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.  Then the park will anchor future events and become a permanent and critical fixture for community building events for decades to come!

    Much appreciation to Red Deer natives John Young and Jody Liptak!   Thank you for helping us develop a beautiful new asset for our downtown, our community, and our future.


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    2019 Canada Winter Games

    She shoots.. She scores! Cari MacLean sizzles at the Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off

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  • Perhaps the ultimate  authority on dance in Alberta… Celebrity Judge Martin Lafebvre dubbed Saturday’s performance Cari Night In Canada!    That accurately sums up the performance by Cari MacLean and her professional partner Jone Lam in the 2018 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off.  The duo took the Oiler / Flames rivalry to an entirely different place Saturday at the Sheraton.  You have to see it to appreciate it…

    Proceeds from the 2018 Sheraton Celebrity Dance Off will help build an incredible new park in downtown Red Deer.  The Canada Games Celebration Plaza will be headquarters for our entire community during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.  Then the park will anchor future events and become a permanent and critical fixture for community building events for decades to come!

    Here’s a standing ovation for Cari MacLean and Jone Lam.   Thank you for helping us develop a beautiful new asset for our downtown, our community, and our future!


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