29 February 2008

So long to the Vic Theatre....

Without much warning, the Vic Theatre closed its doors for good after last night's show. Up until then, the Vic had been running films that often wouldn't show up elsewhere on a first-run basis -- largely art-house and foreign films. Before it was re-born as the Vic, it was the Towne Theatre which was notorious in the 70s for showing "adult" films. It even had seats that reclined... and I suspect staff had to clean more than popcorn and candy off the floor.


Of course there is still Cinecenta, the little theatre in the Student Union building, where you can sometimes catch a foreign film or small-budget art-house shows. Unfortunately they often show for one-night-only, which doesn't work well in today's on-demand world. I actually thought you had to be a "member" to get into Cinecenta, but their website says otherwise.... so I guess the Vic wasn't quite the last public single-screen theatre in Victoria.

Some of you may also be crying, "What about the Roxy, eh?" but they only run second-run features. Since changing owners a few months back, The Roxy has been slowly renovating, starting by calling themselves "Roxy Classic Theatre" instead of the "Roxy Cinegog" but they are still charging only $5 for two movies. Happily, they are also running kids' films and other matinées on the weekends for $2.50 now.

Really, though, Victoria does OK for diversity. Empire Theatres Capitol 6 screens downtown regularly show Indian (Hindi) cinema and the University 4 usually has one art-house type flick on the go. Even the grumpy old Odeon (Cineplex) has been known to bring in smaller films and now Silver City is featuring Opera along side WWE and Hockey events on the big screen.

Even so, I hope someone can come up with a viable business plan for the Vic; it would be a shame to lose the space all together. Maybe if I win that million-dollar lottery....


Ted Godwin said...

I remember the long walk home to my parent's house in Esquimalt after the Rocky Horror Picture Show back in the 80's. Midnight showings and the buses stopped running @ 12:01 which may still be true.

When they became the Vic I always loved their Money-back guarantee. If you left in the first half hour (or was it longer) you got your admission back.

Zézette said...

It's so sad when the old theatres go, which they seem to do everywhere with regularity. We're currently fighting here to save the Regent Theatre. The Regent was long ago made into a multi-screen complex, but has been usurped by more modern cinemas. It's a glorious heap of gothic revival tat, but we love it. They want to replace it with an office block.

Good luck to Victoria in finding a future for the Vic.

Cheryl said...

Ted: it was a 1/2 hour guarantee, common to the Landmark Cinema chain.

Zezette: the Vic was not a nice old theatre, it just happened to be the last single-screen theatre downtown... so it's more the passing of an era than anything.

Zézette said...

The pretty ones, the plain ones... I hate to see any of them go.