Friday April 13, 2012

Local News

The Evolution of Entertainment

Coming soon to a theatre near you — beer

Staff/Voice/Submitted photos


The comfortable looking VIP Cinemas at SilverCity in Coquitlam, BC.


n a bid to make theatres more festive and more attractive to greater numbers of people, the BC Liquor Control and Licensing arm of the provincial government, ministered by Rich Coleman, announced Wednesday that movie theatres and live-event theatres can now apply for a licence to serve alcohol.  


The rules around staging live events have also been amended, whereby groups who want to put on a film, host a music or some other community event, won't need to seek pre-approval from the provincial government as long as no alcohol is served.


But easing alcohol restrictions at theatres won't mean a lot at Galaxy Cinemas or Cottonwood 4 in Chilliwack.


Cottonwood 4 Cinemas manager Pauline Lamb told the Voice in an e-mail Thursday that changes to the Act won't mean they'll do things any differently from their current focus of being a family-oriented venue, but does leave the door open.


"As our goal is to provide 'affordable family fun', at this point in time, we have not considered a license for alcohol," she said. "In the future, who knows."


Cineplex spokesperson Pat Marshall, was quick to respond to our questions as well and told the Voice in an e-mail Thursday that they won't be setting up the bar anytime soon there at Galaxy.


"We currently have no plans to add alcoholic beverage service to our theatre in Chilliwack," she said. "With the law changes announced yesterday, we will now apply for a license to be able to serve alcoholic beverages in the VIP auditoriums for those guests who would like it."


According to Marshall, Cineplex has four VIP Cinemas in Canada — three in Ontario and another at SilverCity in Coquitlam BC where bar service is offered to patrons.


"VIP Cinemas are a separate area within the larger theatre and comprises 5 VIP Cinema auditoriums and a licensed restaurant/lounge adjacent to the VIP auditoriums," said Marshall. "This is not a service we offer to our regular theatre auditoriums." 


Marshall says that Ontario VIP Cinemas have been operating very successfully for a few years. 


"They are extremely popular and often sell out in advance of the other auditoriums," she said.




"VIP Cinemas are a premium entertainment option that feature extra-large leather seats that can be reserved in advance,  armrests that also have an inset table, in-seat service for all food and beverages and an special VIP menu, and a private VIP box office."


Moviegoers will be treated like VIPs by staff who deliver food and beverages to people right in their seats prior to the start of the movie. Once the show begins, seat service ceases.


According to the government release, this new approach provides flexibility for movie and live-event theatres to operate while keeping public safety a priority, ensuring that no alcohol is permitted while a movie is shown or a broadcast is aired when minors are present. At these times, theatres are generally darkened and it may be difficult to determine whether minors are consuming alcohol, so the theatre must be closed to minors during screenings.


“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. These changes strike an appropriate balance between allowing liquor service at theatres and limiting minors’ access to alcohol,” said Coleman in the release.


“On behalf of all of the members of the Motion Picture Theatre Association of British Columbia, we commend the provincial government for taking this positive and responsible approach to updating the liquor laws in the Province. 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,” said Jeremy Bator, president, Motion Picture Theatre Association of British Columbia.


About the liquor code changes

· A multiplex cinema can now apply to obtain a liquor-primary licence for an age controlled auditorium and an age controlled lounge that typically would adjoin the auditorium.

· At an all-ages event or movie, live-event theatres can serve liquor in the lobby but not in the auditorium. For age-controlled live or screened events – where no minors are present – liquor can also be served in the auditorium.

· Both multiplex and single-screen theatres support these changes.

· Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta permit alcohol in movie theatres, with age restrictions.

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



 Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice