Regina’s Rainbow Cinemas set to close after nearly 25 years

Rainbow Cinemas opened in 1998 in Regina. Its Saskatoon counterpart closed its doors after COVID-19 hit the movie theatre industry hard. Now on Sept. 28, 2022, Regina's theatre will close to the public. Global News

One of Regina’s oldest theatres is about to have its last Toonie Tuesday.

On Thursday, it was announced the Rainbow Cinemas movie theatre in the Golden Mile mall will be closing this fall.

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In a statement from Magic Lantern Theatres, they said with the theatre’s lease coming to an end and lower attendance coming out of the pandemic, they made the decision to close its doors.

The theatre was opened in 1998 and is known for its cheap tickets, unique films and its old-school atmosphere.

“The concept was very popular in larger centers in North America at the time,” said Tom Hutchinson, the president of Magic Lantern Theatres. “Multiple screens, showing lots of movies for a very cheap price, 12 hours a day. It was cheaper than Blockbuster, which was its major competition at the time.

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“You could go not even knowing what was showing and find something that you would like and if it wasn’t the best movie, hey, you only risked $2. The cinema initially did very well.”

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The Rainbow Cinemas is part of the fourth largest cinema chain in Canada behind Cineplex Entertainment, Landmark Cinemas and Imagine Cinemas. As all theatres battle the hold streaming services have taken on the market, as well as the global pandemic, Hutchinson said the need for the theatre has disappeared.

“With technological and social changes, people’s need for this sort of cinema faded,” he said. “Now you could sit at home and stream whatever you wanted; you didn’t have to go out. Attendance began to drop seven years ago or so and COVID-19 finished it off.”

And while the people of Regina will certainly miss the memories and the popcorn, Hutchinson said it will affect some more than others.

“Who will it affect? Mostly people with limited income,” he said. “It was a great social opportunity that didn’t break the bank. Rainbow depended on thousands of people attending each week, each paying a very low admission charge. Computers have offered many benefits, but they also destroy human interactions.”

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The theatre will continue to operate until Sept. 25, when the credits roll on one of Regina’s longest-running screens.

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