Rainbow and Magic Lantern Cinemas

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Roxy Theatre located in Saskatoon

Rainbow Cinemas and Magic Lantern Theatres operate movie theatres in Canada. The Rainbow Cinemas chain was founded in the 1990s in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, while the Magic Lantern Theatres chain was founded in 1984 in Edmonton, Alberta. Rainbow Cinemas originally concentrated on suburban multiplex second run theaters, but later added several first run locations, with lower than average admission pricing. Magic Lantern focused on first run theaters both in cities and small towns. The two chains merged and are now based in Edmonton. In May 2016 a strategic decision was made to sell all of the Ontario cinemas except the one in Cobourg to Imagine Cinemas from Windsor, Ontario. Magic Lantern and Rainbow now operate 9 cinemas with a total of 36 screens across Canada.[1]

Magic Lantern always operated first run cinemas, while Rainbow is primarily associated with discounted second run cinemas.


Garneau Theatre located in Edmonton, formerly managed by Magic Lantern Cinemas

The chain currently operates Rainbow Cinemas theatres in Regina, Saskatoon, and Magic Lantern Theatres in Camrose, Peace River, St. Paul, Whitecourt, and Fort Saskatchewan. Magic Lantern was responsible for restoring the interior of the formerly derelict Garneau Theatre, near the University of Alberta in Edmonton. It managed this location until June 2011, when its exterior was restored and the theatre was taken over by Metro Cinema Edmonton, a local nonprofit.[2]

In 2010, the company acquired the Carlton Cinemas theatre in downtown Toronto, a historic venue for independent and arthouse films which was closed by Cineplex Odeon in fall 2009.[3] The theatre reopened as part of the Magic Lantern chain on June 30, 2010 with a two-day program of free films, including Crazy Heart, Chloe, A Single Man, Departures, Julie and Julia, Away from Her and Fantastic Mr. Fox.[4] This theatre is now operated by Imagine Cinemas.[citation needed]

In October 2013, the company acquired the Elgin Mills Cinemas theatre in Richmond Hill. The theatre was previously owned by Cineplex Odeon from its opening in 1995 to September 30, 2005 when it was bought by Empire Theatres. When Empire Theatres announced that it was selling all their theatres to Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas, this theatre was not one of them, so the location closed on August 15, 2013 when its lease expired. The theatre reopened on November 20, 2013. In 2016, it was taken over by Imagine Cinemas.[5][6]

In late-2016, Magic Lantern announced preliminary plans to build what was to be another first-run theatre in the Brighton neighbourhood of Saskatoon.[7] However, the project was acquired from Magic Lantern by Landmark Cinemas. It was also announced in May 2018 that Rainbow's cinema at The Centre in Saskatoon would close in 2020, as it was denied a lease renewal due to a new Cineplex theatre being constructed on the property.[8][9]


  1. ^ "Corporate History". Rainbowcinemas.ca. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  2. ^ Griwkowsky, Catherine. "Garneau Theatre closing". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  3. ^ "Toronto's Carlton cinema to reopen". cbc.ca, February 19, 2010.
  4. ^ "Carlton Cinema opening celebrations start June 30th". NewsWire.ca. June 10, 2010.
  5. ^ "Rainbow Elgin Mills Cinema opens November 20". NewsWire.ca. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  6. ^ "Imagine Cinemas Elgin Mills". CinemaTreasures.org. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Giles, David (November 16, 2016). "Magic Lantern Theatres to open new cinema in Saskatoon's Brighton neighbourhood". Global News. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "Saskatoon cinema square-off: Rainbow to close, Landmark opens this week and Cineplex hot on its heels". CBC News. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  9. ^ "Cineplex set to open new theatre at Centre Mall in 2019". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. 2018-05-29. Retrieved 2018-06-02.

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