Movie theatres and live-event theatres in B.C. can now apply for a licence to serve alcohol during the screening of a film, the province announced Wednesday.

In a written release, the province said multiplex theatres will be allowed to obtain liquor licences and serve alcohol in adult-only auditoriums and adjacent lobbies.

Single-screen movie and live-event theatres can apply to serve alcohol in a lobby where minors are present and serve liquor in the auditorium for adult-only screenings or events.

"These changes give movie theatres and live-event theatres much more flexibility to operate while allowing adults to responsibly enjoy a drink while watching a movie," said Minister Rich Coleman.

"These changes strike an appropriate balance between allowing liquor service at theatres and limiting minors' access to alcohol."

'A more level playing field'

Earlier this year, Vancouver city councillors, the NDP opposition and the owner of the iconic Rio Theatre in Vancouver called for a reform of the province's liquor laws after the Rio's owner complained the venue's new liquor licence prevented them from showing movies.

The province announced a handful of changes in February, allowing live venues with liquor licences to show movies and pay-per-view shows.

"We commend the provincial government for taking this positive and responsible approach to updating the liquor laws in the province," said Jeremy Bator, president of the Motion Picture Theatre Association of B.C.

"These changes will have a positive impact on so many levels including increased jobs, a better guest experience and a more level playing field in the increasingly competitive landscape of entertainment in Canada."

Approximately 30 live-event theatres and 100 movie theatres are potentially eligible to apply for these changes. 

Local governments will continue to have input on all new liquor primary licence applications, the province said.