Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE) Supports Complaint to Competition Bureau Canada

Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE) Supports Complaint to Competition Bureau Canada

  • Cineplex market share is extraordinary when compared to other countries
  • New industry network of independent Canadian film exhibitors speaks up: 

Network of Independent Canadian Exhibitors (NICE) exhibitors are submitting evidence to the Competition Bureau regarding their access to films in Canada. 

Across Canada, independent cinemas are coming together to decry prohibitive practices, which we see as unfairly blocking audiences from a choice of where to see the movie they’re interested in. 

Cineplex has 74.89% of Canadian cinema market share, based on revenue from the 2019 calendar (source: Rentrak). For context, the largest UK company, Cineworld, has 24% of market share based on revenue in 2018 (source: Statista 2020); the largest US company, AMC, has 26% of market share based on revenue in 2019 (source: Rentrak); and the largest Australian company, Event Cinemas, has 28.7% of market share based on revenue in 2017 (source: MPDAA).

Submission to the Competition Bureau

In NICE’s opinion, this behaviour is in direct opposition to Articles #78 and #79 of the Competition Act. Under the Abuse of Dominant Position, the Act reads: “Requiring or inducing a supplier to sell only or primarily to certain customers or to refrain from selling to a competitor with the object of preventing the competitors entry into or expansion in a market.”

NICE is submitting evidence of what we see as Cineplex’s undue influence on non-Cineplex cinemas’ ability to book films.

Cineplex to be foreign-owned

Currently, UK cinema chain Cineworld is finalizing its acquisition of Cineplex. We think there is no better time to raise our existence-threatening concerns, while on the doorstep of being blocked by a foreign company. 

In addition to submitting to the Competition Bureau, NICE is submitting evidence and letters to Simon Kennedy, Director of Investments at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. NICE has also appealed to the Ministry of Heritage who oversee Investment Act Canada, and assess takeovers to ensure they are  of net benefit for Canadians. The acquisition has not yet been fully approved.

If the Cineplex acquisition goes through as-is, 87% of dollars made at theatrical box office will be going to non-Canadian companies; Cineplex owned by a UK company, and Landmark Cinemas owned by a Belgian company.

Cinemas across Canada are speaking up

Independent cinemas are harder to come by in Canada than in many countries, which could be a result of Cineplex’s presence in the market. The few that survive and are fighting today have found that they are facing similar issues coast to coast. NICE exists to strengthen information and resource sharing among our country’s independent and Canadian-owned exhibitors. Here is what some of our members have publicly stated on the subject:

“We’re fighting for our audiences to have the opportunity to see great films,” says Siloën Daley, founder of Carbon Arc Independent Cinema in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

“To me it just points to pure greed,” says Corinne Lea, owner of the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia. “Cineplex has no one to answer to. They’re taking away the consumer’s choice.”

“We will continue fighting to get the best films from all over the world for our customers,” says Mario Fortin, programming and general manager of Cinémas du Parc, Beaubien and du Musée in Montreal, Quebec. 

Support Indie Cinema: Sign the Petition

As a network, we support the Rio Theatre in Vancouver’s petition ‘Stop Cineplex From Crushing Indie Theatres,’ which at the time of this press release has gathered over 17,000 signatures; we encourage our audiences to add to the mounting public pressure by adding their name. 

Yes, NICE has official proceedings underfoot, but we still need your signatures. Small, indie theatres always need the help of their audience, and this is no exception: Your support shows that Canadian audiences want a choice and your voice needs to be heard!

Join Us

If you are an independent film exhibitor in Canada, join us! We welcome film clubs, film festivals, recurring film series, libraries and museums with film programming, and more. You can apply for membership here.

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