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I remember going to this Famous Players location for a visit here on vacation in 1999 and loving it. It was my first visit to the city and I recall navigating through Calgary’s Plus 15 system and wound up here, eventually watching the silly Hugh Grant movie “Mickey Blue Eyes”.
The theater entrance was on the top floor of Bankers Hall, navigated through some escalators. It had a free-standing box office before you entered the cinema.
I watched “Mickey Blue Eyes” in screen #2 and as I walked in I was rather surprised to discover this traditional Famous Players theater featured stadium seating! Immediately this made me think this cinema was a bizarre halfway between a traditional FP build and a Silvercity, which were just becoming popular in Canada at the time.
Obviously due to the design of the place and being on the top floor of the Bankers Hall building gave them reason to have great sight lines between each row. This theater was also part of the late 80’s FP design where each theater had its own name (“Bijou”, “Rialto” etc) and there are still a few of these surviving in Canada.
This was a nice Famous Players location in downtown Calgary and shame to see that it barely survived over a decade. Just wish there were actual pictures of this cinema somewhere.
Great to see some pics of the place from the old Box Office Magazine. I’m guessing as the theater wore on it probably was renovated to look more like a standard, traditional Famous Players cinema. Would love to see more photos of this place over the decades.
Apparently I walked right by the entrance to this cinema last fall while in town for TIFF and didn’t even realize it!
It was definitely a unique cinema in many ways. I will be uploading photos soon. A lot of them. So many in fact that it’s pretty much the reason. I took thousands of photos from many angles over the course of a few months to cover nearly all the bases.
But I’ll try to describe it. The street level entrance is a decent size. As you enter the box office is immediately ahead and a the lower lobby featuring circular seating is to the left as you enter the doors. To the right was a rather large arcade called The Zone that was added in the mid 00’s when Empire took over.
Once tickets are purchased from either the box office, ABO’s or the Zone, you ascend a large circular ramp which takes you up above street level to the second story. While you ascend you can see above street level from a unique glass dome
Once you arrive at the top of the ramp, your ticket is taken there by an usher/supervisor. Now you are on the second level where all the auditoriums are. Immediately when you get to the ramp, the first thing you will see is the largest cinema, #2, looking at you from two sets of double doors. Cinema #1, the smallest is immediately to the left of the top of the ramp. But upon first glance you immediately see Cinema #2 to your left, a small seating area to the right, and the remaining cinemas stretch an entire city block from #3 to #6 on the left hand side. Concession bar is directly across from Cinema #3 on the right hand side. Above the concessions on a separate floor (accessed by two sets of twisting staircases on both sides of the concession) is the main sets of men and women’s washrooms. There was also a handicapped washroom, slightly hidden across from cinema #5 as well. A generous sized lobby extends all the way down the city block length of cinemas, and at the end there is also a nice set of glass partitions that overlook Blanshard and View street as well.
You can get an impression of the place from my initial set of photos along with Hailee’s set, but I’ll be getting up the full set which will truly show what the place is like. I will also likely delete the original photos I posted. This will take a LONG time as CT only allows one photo up a a time, but I promise I will do it!
This was in many ways a sister theater to the Capitol 6 in Vancouver. Similar carpeting, seating, earth tones and screen sizes in many of the cinemas. Of course I have explained its closing before in detail and understand it’s just a reality of the times, but of course I still miss the many movies and friendships I made there over the years.
Odeon simply got better bookings and Capitol got whatever was left over. Capitol got more kid-friendly pics but those play much better at Silvercity and Westshore.
With Capitol closed I’ve noticed that many saturated-release movies are JUST opening at Silvercity now.
I’m still meaning to put up the rest of my Capitol photos but I have much better shots of every single cinema. #2 and #6 were beautiful rooms but tiny #1, #3-5 were more victims of bad 80’s auditorium design and #3-5 especially were like bowling alleys with tiny screens sitting above oddly placed exit doors.
But at least Cinema #2 (pictured in profile) still has my heart. Over 500 seats and a huge screen, and was also a screen that debuted a lot of sound formats. It played 70mm mag in the late 80’s and in the 90’s it was the debut Victoria cinema for DTS (early 1994), Dolby Digital (1995) and even SDDS was in there for about a year (1997-1998) and #2 in that decade had the best cinema sound I have EVER heard. Only the sight lines were a bit tricky at times but I had a favorite pair of seats near the back corner that fixed that.
No one was coming to see a movie here. Attendance was awful and there was so much repair and maintenance needed that even a chain like ML wouldn’t probably get the numbers back up to make it profitable. Even Landmark didn’t want it (but they did take over University 4 when Empire closed up).
Unless a totally new, ultra modern megaplex goes in here I don’t see another cinema ever opening up. Odeon across the street is still going strong, however.
I noticed that too on a recent walk by the cinema. In fact I am sure most of the seats/screen etc are still there, but all the other stuff is long gone.
I wish I could get in there to see the damage but my main contact for the cinema turned over his keys ages ago. No way of getting in there now.
I will also start uploading my photo set from closing week soon. In the meantime there’s also a great set of photos from Hailee when the place used to run 35mm!
I would kill to see more photos of this cinema. Love the auditorium signs!
Also we were able to get SDDS to work in here in about 2010 or so. Also this was a much older, 70mm capable RK-60 whereas the other ones were a bit more Simplex to thread. (Yeah, lame joke I know.)
This was an RK-60 and it came from the Coronet when it shut down in the late 80’s. It was also 70mm capable.
HUGE thanks for this photo. I have photos of Bertha when she was dismantled and put behind this area when the Barco went in.
I remember you! And very much still missing this place.
Thanks David. I worked very hard on this one and the MAJORITY of them are from closing day (I also had my 60D with me in the summmer so a few of them are from there too). I have also been working on some other local documenting (including more Capitol 6 photos) and hope to have those all up in Feb/March.
I have uploaded over 100 photos to this page including all three theaters, lobby, exterior and projection. It took quite a while but here’s a complete document of the Caprice’s 25 year reign in Langford.
The Caprice was one of my favorite movie theaters. A world class operation all the way with perfect 35mm projection and presentation quality, run very well by staff and management and was very popular with locals.
I was a fan for many years and am very sad to see it go.
No longer showing movies as of Xmas 2013.
Sometime in mid-2014 this location (which I visited before TIFF and absolutely loved) will be fully renovated and losing a screen for VIP treatment. What this press release doesn’t mention is the entire cinema will also have its decor changed and likely all new seating throughout.
“Cineplex Entertainment today announced plans to open its latest VIP Cinemas at Toronto’s Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas mid-next year.
VIP Cinemas are a premium, adults-only movie-going experience that offers service at your seat, comfortable reserved seating, a licenced lounge and auditoriums, specialty appetizers and entrees, a dedicated box office and much more.
When the renovation is complete, six traditional auditoriums will be transformed into five VIP Cinema
auditoriums and a licenced lounge. The renovated theatre will be re-named Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas
and VIP, and will feature the new VIP Cinemas, as well as a cutting edge UltraAVX auditorium, an IMAX
auditorium and 16 traditional auditoriums.
Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas, located at 10 Dundas East, will remain open during construction.
Construction begins today and the theatre will welcome its first VIP guests in mid-2014."
Attended the last night of shows on Thursday and it was a very bitersweet evening. Small crowds at each screening and some staff and old managers came to visit. I stayed there with my camera, snapping some last photos before leaving about midnight. Like David said, this opened in the summer of 1981 and aside from some renovations (replacing the dome over the entrance was a big one) changes in carpet, seating and concession area not much about the place had changed. It was a well preserved museum of 1980’s multiplex moviegoing.
This theater will very likely be demolished as Empire is selling it as real estate. There is also a huge parking lot behind the cinema that can also be used for a new development.
I would have loved for Magic Lantern to come in and take over the cinema, but it has an incredible amount of $$$ needed for repairs and renovations, and the attendance has been so low for so long that I don’t think anyone could make a go of it, really. I was in Toronto recently for TIFF and liked what they did with the Carlton, and the Market Square cinema was an excellent visit.
Odeon tends to get better bookings than the Capitol as well. It has been like that for years. Higher profile Oscar titles, foreign and film fest titles would almost always go to the Odeon too, titles which people would come downtown for. Capitol would get more blockbuster/family product but those did way better at Silvercity and Westshore out of town.
I have hundreds of Capitol pics to post, including original 1981 construction and opening day photos. I have completely documented this cinema over the last two months. Both upper and lower lobbies, all six cinemas, concession, projection booth and exterior are all photographed (SOME of them are posted on here). As well I’ll be shooting more photos (mostly exterior, day/night) and video today and tomorrow.
Sadly, despite the coolness of the cinema and its HUGE Cinema #2 (one of my favorite auditoriums on the planet featuring one of the best sound systems), the theater was not making money whatsoever. Attendance has dropped catastrophically over the years to the point where you’d have less than a dozen people in the entire building for a set. It’s depressing considering how busy and profitable this cinema used to be. Cinema #2 still has the highest seating capacity for any cinema on the island.
Odeon doesn’t have stadium seating either, unless you count #5, which was the balcony of the original 1949 theater. The 1997 expansion and the downstairs auditoriums are still flat. Odeon is still going strong and likely could get another modern renovation in the future.
Capitol is closing Thursday, October 17th as this was not one of the theaters up to sale to Landmark Cinemas of Canada. Many photos, comments and more notes to come.
Capitol 6 opened in the summer of 1981, and this carpet was installed in roughly 2004 before Empire took over operations in fall 2005.
Status should now be closed, as the cinema shut down on September 30th, 2012, and IS becoming a Dollarama. Now downtown Vancouver only has two cinemas (Scotiabank 9 and International Village 12) in operation.
Empire Granville 7 will be closing on Sunday, November 4th, 2012 after a South Asian film festival rental. This leaves downtown Vancouver with only TWO cinemas (Scotiabank 9 and International Village 12, both Cineplex) as of November.
Station Square 7 to close on September 3rd, 2012. Which is not surprising as Cineplex never updated to digital at this location. I took photos recently and will add more to the site soon. http://www.cineplex.com/Theatres/TheatreDetails/Famous-Players-Station-Square-Cinemas.aspx
I think I recall those Uptown pics were from another person’s Flickr account. That and the archive photos were the only photos I ever found of the place.
As for the Kingston 7, I couldn’t find photos either but it would appear the multiplexing was done under the 80’s Famous Players design where every cinema had a name (“Rialto” “Bijou” etc). There are still two of them in existence in Greater Vancouver (Esplanade 6 in North Van and Station Square 7 in Burnaby) and are both good cinemas.
It’s closing? Shame. Always wanted to visit there, but understand if there’s a new one opening nearby. (I keep hearing about how awesome the new Empire locations are, even though they have yet to build one in BC).
I too am curious how they divided it up and would love to see interior photos.