Volume 96, Issue 9
Thursday September 12, 2002

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Western battles rainbow

By Chris Webden
Gazette Staff

The battle for cheap cinema rages on, as Western Film and Rainbow Cinemas vie for economical movie supremacy.

Nearly a year after Rainbow Cinemas' grand opening, the downtown theatre is doing well, perhaps too well for some.

As the school year starts again, Western Film, located in the McKellar Room on the second floor of the University Community Centre, is hoping to make up for the $17,000 deficit it suffered last year.

According to James Waite, Western Film co-ordinator, Rainbow Cinemas is definitely a part of the problem. Waite said the deficit may also be the result of a perception problem on behalf of Western students.

"A lot of people don't think we are a real movie theatre," Waite said. "We have Dolby sound, DTS and a big screen that focuses better than most in the city."

The Sept. 11 attacks may also have played a role in Western Film's less than exemplary year, according to Mark Wellington, manager of entertainment productions for the University Students' Council.

"Last year was a bad year for the film industry in general," Wellington said. "Following the 9/11 disaster, theatres saw a big decline in movie-goers."

Katrina Leray-Chapman, general manager of Rainbow Cinemas, said Rainbow Cinemas has been very pleased with the audience turnout in their opening year. Leray-Chapman noted Rainbow's larger number of screens allows them to offer customers a larger selection of movies.

"We have a pretty steady following for our artistic films that we run," Leray-Chapman said, adding Rainbow is one of the only places in London offering films with a more artistic background.

Western Film is working to fix their financial problems by improving their promotions and showing more feature films.

"One of our big problems last year was that our [movie] booker had a poor relationship with Alliance Atlantis," Waite said, adding without a solid friendship with Alliance Atlantis, Western was unable to screen many of the popular features being shown in other theatres.

According to Wellington, playing different movies during the early and late time slots should also help Western Film bounce back.


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