Cineplex Odeon Corporation
|Industry||Entertainment (movie theaters)|
|Fate||Merged with Loews Theatres to form Loews Cineplex Entertainment|
|Founded||April 19, 1979|
|Headquarters||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Garth Drabinsky and Nat Taylor|
Cineplex Odeon Corporation was one of North America's largest movie theatre operators, with theatres in its home country of Canada and the United States. The Cineplex Odeon Theatres are now operated by Cineplex Entertainment in Canada and as AMC Theatres in the United States.
The oldest ancestor of Cineplex Odeon was Odeon Theatres of Canada, started as "General Theatre Corporation" by Paul Nathanson, son of Famous Players Canadian Corporation president Nathan L. Nathanson. The "Odeon Theatres of Canada" name was first used in January 1941. The elder Nathanson was rumoured to be involved in the chain, but it was not until early May 1941 that he resigned (for the second time) from Famous Players Canadian and acknowledged his position in forming and running Odeon. The chain, initially composed of independent theatres, was not originally affiliated with the British "Odeon Cinemas" circuit; it was sold to the British chain's owners, the Rank Organisation, in 1946. Following World War II, there was a wave of anglophilia in Ontario; Odeon emphasised their British ownership to capitalize on this sentiment, screening British films—particularly those made by Rank.
Odeon Canada merged with the Canadian Theatres chain in 1978, becoming known as Canadian Odeon Theatres.
Cineplex Corporation began operating in 1979. On April 19, 1979, Nathan "Nat" Taylor, inventor of the multiscreen theater, and Garth Drabinsky opened the first Cineplex location, an 18-screen complex in the basement of the Toronto Eaton Centre. At the time, the theatre's 1,600 seats earned it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
After successfully challenging the Famous Players/Canadian Odeon duopoly and their exclusive contracts with major studios, in 1984, Cineplex bought out Canadian Odeon Theatres, a unit of the UK firm Odeon Cinemas and operator of the Odeon cinemas in Canada, to become Cineplex Odeon. The Bronfman family was a major investor in the purchase. In 1985, Cineplex bought out the Plitt Theatres chain (previously United Paramount Theatres and ABC Theatres). In 1986, Cineplex Odeon bought out Essaness Theatres (a Chicago area chain), Neighborhood Theatres of Virginia, and the RKO Century Theatres chain (previously Century Theatres [a New York area chain] and RKO Stanley Warner Theatres). Also, in 1986, when federal regulations had been relaxed, MCA (owners of Universal) purchased a stake in Cineplex Odeon.
A film distribution outlet, Cineplex Odeon Films, and a home video distribution outlet, Cineplex Odeon Home Video (Later Cineplex Odeon Video), were established later in 1986; replacing Pan-Canadian Video Presentations. All titles were distributed in Canada on MCA's behalf, but the film distribution outlet ceased operations in 1997 and the home video outlet a year later after MCA sold Universal Studios. its assets along with its home-video division were sold to Alliance Atlantis in 1998.
In April 1998, Cineplex Odeon Theatres merged with New York City-based Loews Theatres (founded in 1904 by Marcus Loew) to form Loews Cineplex Entertainment. Within a few years, Onex sold the U.S. unit outright, keeping the Canadian operations and forming Cineplex Galaxy LP. (Its cinema in Burlington, Washington is one of the locations with its original sign.)
In July 2005, Cineplex Galaxy LP acquired Famous Players, its largest competitor in Canada, from Viacom, becoming the largest theatre chain in Canada. The company has since renamed itself to Cineplex Entertainment LP. That same year, AMC Theatres acquired the Loews Cineplex chain in the U.S., while maintaining its own Canadian theatres.
At the time of the sale, Cineplex Odeon operated few of its theatres, known as the Grande.
- "AMC Entertainment Inc. and Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation Complete Merger". Retrieved 2008-01-24.
- Moore, Paul S. (Fall 2003). "Nathan L. Nathanson Introduces Canadian Odeon: Producing national competition in film exhibition" (PDF). Canadian Journal of Film Studies 12 (2): 22–45. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Wise, Wyndham (May 2001). "From The Editor". Take One (Canadian Independent Film & Television Publishing Association) 10 (32): 7. ISSN 1192-5507. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Gomery, Douglas (1992). Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 0-299-13214-5.
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