State-of-the-art theatre opens

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Nine screens, food fair and stadium seats

David Spaner

CREDIT: Nick Procaylo, The Province The new Paramount Vancouver cost $7.7 million and features four box-office tills, eight automatic ticketing machines and nine auditoriums with a total of 2,144 seats.

There’s a lot to love about a shiny new movie theatre.

In a couple of years, the pristine nine-screen Paramount Vancouver may be as grungy as any old theatre, but the city’s latest multi-screen extravaganza opens its doors today as a thoroughly inviting destination for movie lovers, with comfortable stadium seats, scads of leg room and a food fair fit for a mall.

The $7.7-million, three-storey complex at Burrard and Smithe is “the latest in technology but it’s a very peaceful place to come,” says Nuria Bronfman, a vice-president of Famous Players, the theatre chain behind Paramount Vancouver.

All that peacefulness comes from what Bronfman described, during a pre-opening tour, as Paramount Vancouver’s “techno-zen” quality, including a water wall, designer tree trunks and a simulated stone floor.

“The latest in projection and sound technology,” Bronfman adds, noting that it will be digital friendly.

As important as the complex’s imposing floor-to-ceiling screens is what’s on them.

Bronfman, who programmed gala screeners at the Toronto International Film Festival for 11 years, is acutely aware of the quality of Canadian cinema, including Vancouver‘s strong lineup of filmmakers who always have to battle to get into theatres.

There’s some amazing filmmakers that come out of Vancouver.

“I programmed [Vancouver director Bruce Sweeney’s] Last Wedding for the Toronto festival. I loved that film,” says Bronfman. “We have to develop a market for that.”

The jury, however, is still out on the sort of films that will grace the new theatre.

“I don’t know at this point. We do have nine screens, so we can have a variety of programming. It can sustain a very eclectic mix,” Bronfman said.

While Paramount Vancouver marks the beginning of a new age in downtown filmgoing, it also is another nail in the once-thriving Theatre Row along Granville Street.

To make way for the Paramount Vancouver, Famous Players is closing its Capitol Six, leaving the Granville as the last theatre in a movie-theatre district that once boasted about a dozen cinemas.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

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