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A history of the cineplex company by garth drabinsky and nathan taylor

When the Eaton Centre opened in 1979, the area south of Dundas was revived. The new mall was instantly popular with Torontonians and attracted thousands of tourists as well. On the northwest corner of the Eaton Centre was a ten-storey parking garage. In the basement of the garage was a 25,000 square-foot space that attracted the attention of Nathan A.

Taylor Nat and Garth Drabinsky. They formed the Cineplex Odeon Corporation in 1979, as they realized the possibilities of the space in the Eaton Centre as a site for a movie-theatre complex. It was in the heart of the city at Yonge and Dundas and easily accessible by public transportation.

As well, the area had much foot traffic. To create the theatre complex, the huge space below the parking garage was converted into a series of small theatres, all under the same roof. Multi-screen complexes allowed theatre owners to screen several movies in the same building, catering to the different tastes of viewers. Thus, increased revenues were generated without increasing costs for rent, taxes, and heating. Nathan Taylor also had experience with operating multi-screen complexes, as he had opened one in Ottawa and had previously divided the Uptown Theatres into the Uptown Five.

The Cineplex Odeon Eaton Centre was a natural extension of the multi-screen concept. When it opened on Tuesday, April 17, 1979, it contained 18 auditoriums, each containing 50 to 100 seats—about 1500 seats in total—the largest movie-theatre complex in the world at that time.

The auditoriums were grouped into four sections, located on two different floors. A rear projection system was employed to screen the films, which caused the edges of the pictures to be slightly blurred. Few patrons seemed to notice, as the auditoriums were attractive and the seats comfortable.

The aisles were on both sides of the auditoriums, which meant that no seats were jammed against the walls.

  • On the northwest corner of the Eaton Centre was a ten-storey parking garage;
  • Although the relationship was beneficial in 1993, the next year Universal Pictures' lack of hits dragged Cineplex down;
  • Although the relationship was beneficial in 1993, the next year Universal Pictures' lack of hits dragged Cineplex down;
  • Drabinsky and chief administrative officer Gottlieb recognized an opportunity to gain control of the company by acquiring The Bronfman Group's 30 percent interest;
  • Cineplex odeon films also known as cineplex odeon pictures and cineplex-odeon films was the film distribution unit of the canadian cinema chain cineplex odeon corporation the company began in 1978 as pan-canadian film distributors , a partnership between film producer garth drabinsky and inventor nat taylor , based in toronto, ontario;
  • Biography[ edit ] Taylor was born and raised in a Jewish family in Toronto , Ontario and began his business career in 1918 selling postcards.

The main lobby was capable of holding 200 people. Patrons were able to gather before attending a movie or linger after a film. A cafe and bistro were included, offering a wide variety of foods. Computerized ticket-vending machines were installed and it was possible to purchase tickets in advance, even a day or two ahead.

By employing these machines, and by staggering the times the movies started, crowding was reduced. No tickets were sold after a film began, preventing interruptions during viewings.

A year or two later, the tickets were colour-coded, with eye-catching directional signs on the theatre walls to guide people to the appropriate auditorium. In 1981, three more auditoriums were added to the complex, bringing the total to 21, and the total number of seats to over 2000.

In the early years, Cineplex Odeon Eaton Centre offered specialty films and foreign films, many of them with sub-titles. It was not profitable to screen these in larger theatres, as the appeal of a single movie might be quite small.

However, in smaller auditoriums, even if only 30 to 35 patrons saw a film in an evening, it remained profitable.

A history of the cineplex company by garth drabinsky and nathan taylor

To further reduce costs, the theatre dealt directly with foreign producers or distributors to get Canadian rights. Films that were popular were shown in more than one auditorium. Cineplex Odeon Eaton Centre opened at a time when movie theatres were struggling, since home video players were becoming popular. Another difficulty was that two major movie chains monopolized film distribution rights in Canada. Cineplex Odeon Corporation threatened to sue under the anti-combine laws, and succeeded is loosening their strangle hold.

Thus, in the 1980s, Cineplex Odeon Corp. Having gained success, Cineplex Odeon expanded its theatre chain across Canada and into the United States.

Nat Taylor

In its glory days, the complex in the Eaton Centre allowed patrons a wide range of movies, all in one building. Teenagers took great delight in trying to slip into another auditorium after they had seen the movie they had first paid to view. Movie buffs viewed films not available in larger theatres, as well as the current Hollywood hits. At the confection stand, popcorn and other treats were available. With the decrease in revenues, Cineplex Odeon Eaton Centre slowly deteriorated.

The seats and carpets became tattered and the auditoriums appeared shabby.

  • At first, the same program played in both auditoriums, but several years later Taylor came up with the idea of selling tickets to different movies from the same box office, laying claim as the first to do so;
  • Both Cineplex and Sony hoped their combined forces would help them expand overseas and compete with other rapidly consolidating exhibitors;
  • This set the stage for a systematic penetration of the U;
  • He also adopted a practice of selling off individual properties if their real estate value increased dramatically;
  • Industry-wide box office revenues rose 7.

To attract customers, films were offered at bargain prices and special deals were advertised. However, these attempts failed and the theatres began to attract the street crowd, such as those who attended the Rio Theatre on Yonge Street. They were seeking a warm place in winter, and in summer, a place that was air-conditioned. In their eyes, the multiplex theatre was a twenty-one room hotel, each room having many seats in which to sleep and a huge TV screen to watch movies.

The price of entrance and the location made it ideal for their purposes. Attendance continued to dwindle. Cineplex Odeon Eaton Centre closed on March 12, 2001 and was demolished shortly after.

City of Toronto Archives. Suburban movie complexes have followed the same concept of design for the past few decades.

  • The first location in 1979 at the Toronto Eaton Centre had 18 screens soon increased to 21 , a Guinness World Record at the time;
  • Also during this time, the company expanded for the first time outside North America, opening six screens in Hungary in 1996;
  • The building had an illustrious history dating back to 1920 when it opened with a combination of vaudeville and silent movies;
  • For this reason, competitors failed to take the operation seriously at first;
  • It's studio, Universal Pictures, was Cineplex's major supplier, and its 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park made money for the movie exhibitor.

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