3 Ottawa Empire Theatres reopen today under new management

Three Ottawa Empire movie theatres — in Orleans, downtown and Kanata ​— are reopening today under new management.

Alberta-based Landmark Cinemas acquires Empire theatres in Orleans, Kanata, downtown

The Empire Theatre at the World Exchange Plaza reopens today under new management. (Kate Porter/CBC)

Three Ottawa Empire movie theatres — in Orleans, downtown and Kanata ​— are reopening today under new management.

Empire Theatres sold its movie houses to a company based in Alberta called Landmark Cinemas, which has been operating for 65 years.

Landmark is adding 23 former Empire theatres to its roster and is moving into Ontario.

The renamed theatres in Ottawa are in Orleans on Innes Road, Kanata Centrum and at the World Exchange plaza downtown.

The Empire Theatre set to be built at Lansdowne Park remains under Empire's ownership.

World Exchange cinema's future still uncertain

But the future of the downtown cinema at the World Exchange isn't entirely settled.

The theatre's lease expires on Dec. 31 and Bentall Kennedy, the company running the plaza, is exploring using the movie theatre space for something else.

"If we have our way it will be a for-good cinema for us but there's a lot of negotiation, as you can imagine, that has to go on," said Fran Holy, a Landmark Cinemas vice-president. 

"And we wanted to make sure that we had the time to do the negotiations continually before the end of the year, so Empire Theatres awarded us a management contract of that theatre and we will go into negotiations right after transition day ... to start to look at what we need to do to keep that theatre. 

"Because ... we've been contacted by a lot of people in Ottawa to tell us just how important that theatre is to them."

The three new Landmark theatres will begin the process of rolling out the Landmark name and branding in the new year.

"We need to focus on the movie-going experience and next year we'll focus on the branding," Holy said.

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