Cheap seats no more

Students may be disappointed with the upgrade planned for Cinema City McGillivray, Winnipeg’s “cheap seats,” as renovations will be followed by higher ticket prices.

The second-run cinema will get a $4.5 million makeover to open as a first-run multiplex by summer 2012.

The upgraded theatre will be called Cineplex Odeon McGillivray & VIP Cinemas, and will have eight regular theatres and three VIP cinemas.

Kyle Moffatt, director of communications and spokesperson for Cineplex, explained that renovating the McGillivray cinemas “was an opportunity for us to bring the VIP experience to Winnipeg.”

Moffatt said Cineplex chose the McGillivray theatres because they had already put a lot of work into Polo Park and St Vital, and McGillivray was the only one they hadn’t done anything with.

He said the renovations would bring in new guests, but Moffatt acknowledged that people might be “a little upset” with losing the second-run films.

Moffatt also said the renovations would affect ticket prices. A premium will be charged for the VIP cinemas and the regular theatre prices will be the same as other Cineplex theatres such as Polo Park.

Some of the features of the VIP cinemas will be in-seat service, reserve seating, larger chairs, and a VIP lounge with more upscale food choices.

The VIP cinemas will be 18-plus, but Moffatt said they have not determined whether or not customers will be able to have “an adult beverage.”

Moffatt explained that there are three theatres in Ontario with VIP cinemas, and they “are always the first to sell out [. . .] when they’re offered.”

“I think it’s pretty exciting that Winnipeg gets the new complex,” said Andrea Boyd, a U1 student. Boyd said she would try a VIP cinema but that if ticket prices change it would probably affect her choice to go.

“I think it would have been better if they kept it as the cheap seats,” said Meycee Kalau, a fourth-year science student at the U of W.

Kalau said ticket prices changing would “definitely” affect her choice to go to the movie theatre, and felt that Cineplex are probably targeting a different group of people with the upgrade.

Ilana Isaacs, a first-year engineering student, said she was “a little disappointed” with the planned renovations.

“I really enjoy going to the cheap seats, and I’m sure that they’re not going to be cheap anymore.”

Isaacs said she’s always taken pride in Winnipeg for having $2 movies on Tuesdays.

“People will go to the movies no matter how much they have to pay, especially in that area, but I think they’ll lose a certain clientele; [ . . . ] the ones who can’t afford a $10 movie in the first place,” Isaacs said.

Amy Stevenson, a first-year pharmacy student, said that the renovations are “kind of disappointing because it will probably be higher cost [ . . . ] and it’s a good place for students to save money right now.”

Stevenson added that the location will probably be less attractive to students trying to stick to a budget.

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