Royal revival: lights back on at College Street rep

posted by schmadrian on July 3, 2006 at 6:28 am

TORONTO, CANADA — Looks like there’s some good news about one of the Festival Cinemas in Toronto, The Royal, that’s slated to close June 30th, courtesy of NOW magazine:

When news broke several weeks ago that four of Toronto’s Festival Cinemas movie houses would be closing down on June 30, the situation looked most hopeless for the Royal on College Street.

While the three other theatres — the Revue, the Kingsway and the Paradise — were simply slated to go dark, the Royal was immediately put up for sale by the owners, presumably because it occupied the most valuable plot of real estate.

Rumours abounded that the historic 1930s-era theatre would be turned into a nightclub or, worse, torn down for condos. But as it turns out, the sale of the Royal will almost certainly prove to be its saving.

Theaters in this post

Comments (7)

telliott on July 4, 2006 at 7:41 am

That is GREAT news about the Royal…now if we could only get somebody to re-open the Kingsway and the Revue. Maybe they could be independently run, like they were prior to being part of the Festival chain. I know there is a community group trying to re-open the Revue, so hopefully they are successful and the same can happen to the Kingsway. Those two parts of town just wouldn’t be the same without those theatres open and operating. I think they could have tried to show new films, just opened but at their Festival pricing. I know alot of people would rather see movies there then at any of the noisy multiplexes.

schmadrian on July 4, 2006 at 7:55 am

Well, as I’ve opined before, this gets back to understanding what your market wants. It could be that simply replicating what the ‘noisy multiplexes’ (Have to admit you’ve got me on this; what are you referring to? The size of the crowds? The fact that these ‘Devil’s handiworks’ are the aesthetic opposite of the local nabe? Please explain) offer at the Revue isn’t financially viable. I heard a number (maybe it was on the savetherevue site) of $40,000 per month being the operating cost of the Revue. Do the math.) Maybe the only way this cinema could survive would be ‘specialty’ progamming. Foreign. Indie. Children’s. How would you feel about its existence then?

Admittedly, I’m a bit torn about the survival of some theatres. While I think every neighbourhood should have its own nabe, I don’t believe that conventional progamming and traditional approaches are going to be what’s required for them to survive in a changing marketplace. I worry about nostaliga and emotion fueling the engine, getting peoples' hope up, when, after all, it’s a business situation.

zephr on July 4, 2006 at 2:19 pm

In Canada there is something called democracy and choice, i personally would rather see a movie in a classic cinema than in a cinema that does not have any character. What do you see inside a mutiplex cinema, nothing but bare walls, at least in a classic cinema you have reclining seats such as in the Kingsway and Revue.

In a classic cinema you also have art deco finished auditorium and more inviting cinema to see a movie.

schmadrian on July 4, 2006 at 4:17 pm

Well, we all have reasons for going to see movies. All of us are a little different. That’s what makes diversity so special. Freedom of choice is great for this. What you get out of a ‘classic cinema’ might not be what someone else is even interested in. (Not that it has to be, or that you should have to ‘defend’ your choice.) I’m just saying that whereas you get something out of the setting, someone else might prefer something modern, might prefer a more convenient location, might prefer the opportunity to have a bigger selection of films to see, the might not care one whit about history and tradition or setting… ‘Whatever floats yer boat.’

Me? I love classic theatres. And I love single-screen behemoths. I love tiny, character-filled nabes. I love multiplexes. I love megalithic movie centres with 32 screens. I’ve seen films in cinemas from Pembroke, Ontario to Charlottesville, Virginia, and they’ve all been different, and they all brought me pleasure. I would personally like to see films in all kinds of theatres. All sizes, all shapes, all kinds of history, no kind of history, everything, all of them, period.

As a Canadian, I too reserve the benefits of democracy and choice. I guess the difference is that I find enjoyment in more places than you do…or at least have more options for enjoyment. I feel very fortunate to have this particular (and rare, especially on this site) approach to moviegoing, and am glad I grew up in a neighbourhood that had both a nabe and a drive-in within walking distance of where I lived.

Make mine a large tub with butter, please!

Michael Furlinger
Michael Furlinger on August 3, 2006 at 1:17 pm

Canadian that says it all………………..

schmadrian on August 3, 2006 at 2:14 pm

Why, thanks for you kind observation!

It’s always nice to know that a southern cousin is able to recognize -and respect- the erudition, the perspicacity, the general ‘je ne sais quois’ of us Canucks.

Much appreciated; back at you in the spirit intended. You have a nice day now, eh?

DaveRockin on December 26, 2006 at 11:40 pm

“The Royal Cinema, one of four neighbourhood repertory theatres that shut earlier this year after the death of the owner, has been taken over by Theatre D Digital.

The company plans to do post-production film work in four editing suites during the day and show movies in the evenings and on weekend afternoons."

from: View link

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