Go wide! Cineplex plans multi-screen movie theatres in three Canadian cities

TORONTO – Another flashy new concept will arrive at some Canadian movie theatres this month as Cineplex installs multi-screen cinemas in three cities.

The country’s largest chain of movie theatres says it will make Barco Escape the latest addition to its platform of ticket options. The concept is a partnership with Belgium-based digital entertainment company Barco.

Theatres will be retrofitted with three screens that provide about 270 degrees of viewable space. During certain sequences of films, the image on the centre screen expands onto the side screens to create a panoramic experience.

Cineplex will charge a premium of $5 on each Barco Escape ticket, said spokeswoman Sarah Van Lange.

The company plans to install Barco Escape inside a single theatre at locations in Vancouver, Edmonton and Toronto, and all of them are expected to open in time for the premiere of “Star Trek Beyond” on July 22.

While a number of films have tested Barco Escape since the technology’s debut two years ago, it’s not widely used within Hollywood yet — though that’s likely to change soon.

A recent six-picture agreement involving Canadian producer Minds Eye Entertainment will bring a lineup of sci-fi, action and thriller films to the format, starting later this year with “The Recall.” Another film called “6 Below,” starring Josh Hartnett, is also expected to screen with the Barco Escape option later this year.

Barco Escape is part of a growing number of “immersive” experiences that theatre companies are using to lure fickle audiences back into theatres at higher prices.

In addition to popular premium formats like Imax and 3D, Cineplex also offers VIP screens in some areas, which have service staff, food and alcohol available. The company also offers DBox motion seats that move and vibrate to mimic the action on the screen.

The latest addition planned for the Cineplex slate is the 4DX auditorium — a higher-priced theatre where action movies become a sensory experience with artificial rain, wind and lightning that reflect what’s on screen.

The company says the Toronto debut of its first 4DX theatre in Canada, originally set for this summer, has been delayed until the fall.


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