Support Your Local Cinema
NICE Letter Writing Campaign
Across Canada, independent cinemas do the important work of sharing stories and building community. Many of your favourite cinemas are labours of love, run by people who work hard to create unique experiences for their audience.
Independent cinemas need structural support and policy changes in order to thrive, or even survive. The Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE) has collaborated on a proposal defending this important industry—before it’s too late.
Cineplex represents 75% of Canadian theatrical box office market share. This is an outsized slice of the pie, especially when compared to the largest exhibitors in Australia (28.7%), the UK (24%) and the US (26%).
Many independent cinemas have second-class access to new movies: they must wait for Cineplex to finish playing a new release before they are allowed to show it.
This is enforced by what is called the ‘zone’ system. Independent cinemas need to wait until a Cineplex in a geographic area called a ‘zone’ has ended its run of a film. There is no map of zones available, even to the independent cinemas who are subject to their restrictions. Many independent cinemas report that the Cineplex zones they have to clear will change between films.
Zones restrictions keep independent cinemas from playing films, but two Cineplex locations in close proximity can play a film at the same time. For example, zones do not impact Yonge-Dundas and Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto, despite being only approximately 1 kilometre apart.
Zones are inconsistently applied—even for the same cinema over the course of just a few titles—and don’t correspond to any official system.
The solution: Eliminate zones, allowing independent cinemas to book films at the same time as chains.