Saskatoon's next movie theatre eyes May 2018 opening in suburban Brighton

Magic Lantern Theatres plans to open its modern movie theatre in Saskatoon's east-end Brighton development next spring.

Magic Lantern Theatres pushes back opening originally planned for this fall

A construction photo taken in early October. The grey and red building at top centre, with the parking lot in front of it, is the new Magic Lantern theatre, now slated to open next May. (Magic Lantern Theatres)

It should be just in time for the next Avengers film and Han's first solo Star Wars outing.

Magic Lantern Theatres says it plans to open its modern movie theatre in Saskatoon's east-end Brighton development in early May 2018. The multi-screen theatre will be south of the intersection of College Drive and McOrmond Road.

"We don't have a hard date yet but a general date," said Tom Hutchinson, president of the Edmonton-based theatre chain.

"It also depends somewhat on what Hollywood releases, because we want to open with a strong slate of pictures."

Tentpole blockbusters Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story bow on May 4 and May 25, respectively.

The digitally-equipped Brighton theatre will have seven stadium-seating auditoriums with comfy chairs like those in Cineplex's VIP rooms.

"They're all going to be recliner or rocker seats with the leatherette covering, big black ones," said Hutchinson.

The general admission ticket price hasn't been determined yet, but Hutchinson points out a recently opened theatre in North Battleford charges $11.

D-Box gets F grade

Magic Lantern Theatres also owns the independent-minded Roxy Theatre on 20th Street in Saskatoon, and the more traditional but aging theatre on Eighth Street, run under the Rainbow Cinemas banner.

Roxy Theatre, one of two operating theatres in Saskatoon owned by Magic Lantern Theatres. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

"When I built Centre Cinema [since sold to the company now known as Cineplex] and Rainbow Cinema, those theatres were reasonably state of the art," said Hutchinson.

"But they are no longer state of the art. They're worn out. They're old. So you ask, why does Saskatoon need a new theatre? Because those are 25 years old, and it's time."

Hutchinson draws the line at D-Box seats, though — those that rumble with every swoosh of a Transformer dinosaur's tail.

"No!" he exclaimed when asked if those are part of the Brighton cinema plan.

Soil conditions delay opening

So why the Brighton area?

"The road access is excellent," said Hutchinson. "And the other thing is that it has wonderful free parking.

"There are issues in other parts of the city with parking, and being a new suburban area, we'd hoped that some of the issues that occur in older areas of town don't follow out to the new one."

The new Brighton cinema is located in the area marked at 'Brighton Marketplace,' in the upper-right of this concept plan map from developer Dream. (Dream)

The revised May 2018 opening date is several months later than the originally planned fall 2017 premiere.

"Soil conditions accounted for the delay," said Hutchinson. "The soil in the area is overly plastic and special fill had to be engineered and brought in before the concrete work could begin."

It's hoped the Brighton area will be home to over 15,000 people, according to an April 2014 concept plan.

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Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

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