Volume 92, Issue 80

Thursday, February 18, 1999


The Concrete Beat

Kicking cubicles in the ass

Currie spices up art vs. commerce debate

Space flick for beings of all sizes

Celebrity sighting

Underground sound

Diviners play with poison

Corporate greed at Sineplex


Corporate greed at Sineplex

It's one of the fundamental principles of life – give and take. Relationships thrive on it, careers are built on it and business connections depend on it.

In the past, The Gazette's understanding with movie companies has been simple, yet beneficial for both sides. A reviewer is sent to a show on its opening weekend with one pass, which will admit the writer into a matinee free of charge. For the equivalent of a $5 matinee show ticket, 16,000 students can read about and see the movie, resulting in potential revenue for the theatre. Give and take.

Cineplex Odeon, the monster movie mogul which owns the Huron Market Place theatres, Galleria cinemas and the Westmount 6 theatres in London, has recently merged with Loews Entertainment. Though the full consequences of this collaboration have not yet been realized, one repercussion has been quick to hit this university.

The Gazette received a fax at the beginning of the month which stated as a result of the merger they would no longer be honouring passes from media personnel. While they apologized for any inconvenience this may cause, it was clear there would be no negotiations on the matter.

It seems Cineplex Odeon has forgotten the "giving" part of the give-take equation. It is a self-serving and insulting business strategy for a billion dollar company to refuse a university paper a $5 movie pass and yet expect promotion. The media has never taken advantage of this situation – reviewers were not even allowed to bring a guest to the screening.

Our writers are volunteers, students of Western living a financially tapped student life. Clubs around town regularly and happily honour guest lists from our staff and venues such as The Grand Theatre consistently offer opening night tickets for writers and guests to attend their performances. As movie reviews are of popular interest to our readership, we like to cover all new shows coming to town. However, to insist our volunteers pay out of their own pockets to do both us and the movie companies a service, is something we refuse to do purely on principle.

To deprive a university newspaper of media privileges in a university town is the most ludicrous decision a business could make. Many students rely on their school paper as a source of information, so they won't have to spend their money on other papers. Cineplex Odeon has assumed they will receive the same amount of media coverage without giving anything back. This is a blind assumption at best, which surmises the media is working for them, rather than with them.

The extra kick in the ass came when the fax which relayed this information arrived on top of a stack of Cineplex Odeon show times, which we personally sit and type on our own time, so the listings can appear in The Concrete Beat. Not only do we bring publicity to specific movies, but we make all information pertaining to the theatres extremely accessible – for no charge. In a symbiotic relationship, these jobs are a pleasure. In a parasitic one, Cineplex Odeon is simply taking advantage.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999