Cineplex Odeon Corporation
|Industry||Entertainment (movie theaters)|
|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 "Generals 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 creating and operating 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 its 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 Canadian Odeon Theatres, to become Cineplex Odeon. The Bronfman family was a major investor in the purchase. In 1985, Cineplex bought the Plitt Theatres chain (previously United Paramount Theatres and ABC Theatres). In 1986, Cineplex Odeon bought Essaness Theatres (a Chicago area chain founded in 1929 by Edwin Silverman and Sidney Spiegel of the Spiegel catalog family), 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. In 1987, Cineplex acquired the Walter Reade Organization from The Coca-Cola Company.
In 1986, the corporation established a film distribution outlet, Cineplex Odeon Films, and a home video distribution outlet, Cineplex Odeon Home Video (Later Cineplex Odeon Video) replacing Pan-Canadian Video Presentations. It distributed all titles in Canada on MCA's behalf, but the film distribution outlet ceased operation in 1997 and the home video outlet a year later after MCA was renamed as Universal Studios. Alliance Atlantis purchased the division's assets along with its home video division 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. In 1999, Ellis Jacob and Steve Brown, former executives who left Cineplex Odeon Corporation during the ownership change, created Galaxy Entertainment designed to bring big-city entertainment to mid-sized markets across Canada. By 2003, the company had grown to 19 theatres and $75 million in box office revenue.
At the same time, in 2003, Loews Cineplex Entertainment was emerging from bankruptcy, the prospect of a merger between Cineplex Odeon and Galaxy Entertainment represented the first of three opportunities for growth.To that end, Onex decided to sell the U.S. unit of Cineplex Odeon Theatres outright, keeping the Canadian operations and went public forming Cineplex Galaxy LP that same year. (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. The Canadian theatres have since been sold to Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas; however, some have closed permanently.
At the time of the sale, Cineplex Odeon operated few of its theatres, known as the Grande.
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...whose father, Edwin, founded Essaness in 1929 with a member of the family that owned Spiegel Inc.
- "Cineplex to buy N.Y. theater chain". United Press International. March 19, 1987.
- Liu, Robert (30 September 1997). "Loews, Cineplex to merge". CNNMoney.
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- "Corporate Information". Cineplex. Retrieved 1 August 2018.