East Vancouver’s Rio Theatre lives to screen another film, as offer to buy building accepted
East Vancouver’s iconic independent movie theatre will live to fight another day.
The Rio Theatre had launched a campaign warning that its future could be at risk when the building that houses it was put up for sale.
That campaign involved a petition that drew around 20,000 signatures — and a plan to try and buy the building, which has an assessed value of about $4 million.
On Wednesday night, the theatre took to Twitter to announce that it had made an offer, which had been accepted by the building’s owners.
“We have it. We did it. But we are so totally not done yet!” wrote the theatre’s management.
“We made a creative offer on a creative business model…. And it was accepted. We need to get onto the next phase and we have a limited amount of time to do it,” they added in another tweet.
The campaign to save the theatre, which is known for its varied programming — ranging from Dungeons and Dragons themed improv to cult films to festival-circuit independent cinema, has attracted some high profile supporters.
Vancouver Film School alumni and indie film darling Kevin Smith, best known for his films Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back lent his support, telling Global News the theatre is “an amazing space” and that he would do whatever it takes to keep it open, even if it means “trying to literally hold the doors open with my body, my large body.”
Rio owner Corinne Lea declined to say how much she and her business partners had offered the building’s owners, save that it was above the building’s assessed value.
Earlier Wednesday she said that if the offer was accepted, she would still need to fundraise and assemble investors.
But she said she had already heard from many people who want to help save the beloved theatre.
-With files from the Canadian Press