Thursday, April 12, 2012

B.C Movie Theatres Now Playing : Booze

Well if you get a little bored during the movie.. Here's something to help! Booze in theatres... Is it a good idea? 420-1013

From the

Liquor is finally on the menu at British Columbia’s movie theatres, after the provincial government reversed a long-standing ban on booze at movies.

Multiplex theatres will now be allowed to apply for a licence to serve alcohol in “adult-only auditoriums and adjacent lobbies.”

Single-screen and live theatres will now be allowed to apply for a licence to serve alcohol in lobbies if minors are present, and in auditoriums if it’s an adult-only event. Cabinet minister Rich Coleman thinks the new regulations are a “common-sense solution” to the recent controversy about drinking in theatres.

It had become an issue when struggling single-screen theatres sought liquor licences so they could sell alcohol at live events, only to find if they obtained a “liquor primary” licence, regulations stated they could no longer show films except for special occasions.

“The common-sense solution for a single-screen theatre would be when they’re running an event that’s just adults, their licence would allow them to serve liquor in the theatre itself,” said Coleman.

“When they’re showing a film, if there’s only adults, they can actually take their drink to their seat. If they’re just going to a normal live event or film festival where children will be in attendance, just like at the [Queen Elizabeth Theatre] today, they’ll be able to have a drink in the lobby, but not take it to their seats.”

Corinne Lea of the Rio Theatre in east Vancouver is “very excited” by the changes. Lea spent 15 months getting a liquor primary licence for her 440-seat theatre, but saw her monthly revenue plummet from $60,000 to $20,000 when she had to stop showing films, save for special events.

“It basically means we have the freedom to program the way we were before,” said Lea. “It means we can plan ahead now, and really think about what film festivals and stuff we want to do.”

Cineplex Entertainment sells alcohol at its SilverCity Coquitlam multiplex, but was only able to do so because the complex has a licensed lounge that services five adult-only “VIP” auditoriums within the 20-screen multiplex. Patrons are not allowed to drink at their seats at present, but this will likely change.

Cineplex hopes to add VIP auditoriums that would serve alcohol to new multiplexes proposed for Vancouver and Abbotsford. Under the new regulations, patrons will be able to drink at their seats. “They’re extraordinarily popular,” Cineplex’s Pat Marshall said of VIP cinemas. “I think it’s because they’re an adult premium entertainment experience. The seats are extra large, and they’re reserved, so a guest can choose whatever seat they’d like.”

Lea expects the Rio’s lineup will now be about 70 per cent live events, 30 per cent movies. She’s looking forward to bringing back the Rio’s popular midnight movie series, which brought hundreds of people out to cult films like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Big Lebowski and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“The only issue is because our liquor licence ends at 1 a.m., we may have to make them 11 o’clock movies instead of midnight,” said Lea. “I have to look into those particulars. We may just call them late-night movies, as opposed to midnight.”

Coleman said more changes to provincial liquor regulations may be coming. “We’ve done a couple of minor changes, but we’re doing a full review of liquor regulations right now,” said Coleman, who has the liquor portfolio, along with energy and mines.


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