The curtain's closing on Winnipeg's Globe Cinema.
The multi-screen movie theatre inside the Portage Place shopping centre downtown has plummeted in popularity, making it challenging to attract top films.
“Over the last several years our attendance numbers at the Globe in Winnipeg have continued to decline," states a news release from Neil Campbell, COO of Landmark Cinemas, which owns the Globe.
"We have always been committed to our movie going guests in Winnipeg and therefore we remained in this location while trying a variety of programs to make this theatre viable. Recently, it has become increasingly difficult to get films for this location due to the low attendance numbers, therefore, it was time to make the hard decision to close."
The last day of business will be June 15.
Meanwhile, business is booming for Landmark at its Grant Park Cinemas, prompting the company to focus on major renovations there, starting in August.
Landmark bought that location from Empire Theatres last year.
"This particular theatre does extremely well with both blockbuster movies and art film," said Campbell.
"Having a theatre that plays well to both audiences means we can continue to offer our Winnipeg moviegoers the wide variety of product we are very proud to show."
Downtown resident Claude Forest said he was disappointed to hear the theatre was closing.
“It’s the movie-going experience, the comfort of the seats, the quality of the projection, the quality of the screens – all those things,” he said.
University eyes theatre space
The general manager of Portage Place Shopping Centre, Dave Stone, said the mall is still struggling to get foot traffic through the mall.
“I think a theatre in our downtown at this point in time is a challenge. I think that as much progress as we’ve made over the last few years and we will make over the next few years, we’re still struggling with feet on the street,” said Stone. “It is a challenge for us financially, but like I said, we’re going to look at it as an opportunity.”
One possible opportunity is for the University of Winnipeg to take over the space.
“This is as far as we’ve occupied the mall so far,” said Jeremy Read, with the university’s administration. “We don’t have many large lecture theatres at the University of Winnipeg and to construct that kind of space in the landlocked kind of situation like we have at the University of Winnipeg can be quite cost prohibitive.”
Read wouldn’t say for sure if the U of W will make a move to use the space but did say it’s worth looking into.
“Certainly Portage Place is on our radar as one of the places we would investigate for further expansion,” he said.
Downtown sees decline in theatre numbers
The closure of the Globe, leaves just two movie theatres in downtown Winnipeg — the Landmark-owned Towne Cinema 8 and the independent arthouse Cinematheque.
The IMAX theatre in Portage Place shut its doors in March 2013.
Downtown teemed with cinemas in the 1980s, including the Capitol, Odeon, Metropolitan, Northstar, Garrick, Eaton Place, Towne Cinema 8.
Prior to that, there were dozens more in an earlier heyday, including the Furby, Starland, Gaiety, Grand, Lyceum, Princess, Monarch, Victoria, Orpheum, Fox, Oak and Regent.