Cineplex plans Rec Rooms for smaller cities

TORONTO — Cineplex is planning to expand its Rec Room complexes that include eateries, live entertainment and games, across Canada, including in smaller cities, as it continues to diversify its business.

“We’ve gone from a movie company to an entertainment company,” said CEO Ellis Jacob in an interview after the company’s annual meeting in Toronto on Wednesday.

The movie theatre company announced this week it plans to open two more locations of its Rec Room entertainment complexes, which include a restaurant, games, virtual reality and other attractions. The Rec Rooms will open in Mississauga, Ont., and Burnaby, B.C.

Cineplex (TSX:CGX) plans to open 10 to 15 Rec Rooms over the next several years in major cities. It’s so far opened one in Edmonton and has announced plans for another one in the city, as well as a Calgary location.

Jacob said it’s likely eight to 10 locations will be open in the next three years.

The company is also looking at creating a model for a similar space in mid-size and small markets, like Kingston, Ont., that will have the same amenities, but less square footage. The Rec Rooms in larger cities range from 40,000 to 60,000 square feet.

In addition to growing its Rec Room presence, Cineplex is also looking at expanding its 4DX experience, currently only available at one downtown Toronto theatre. The technology adds motion, like seat ticklers, and environmental effects, like snow or lightning, to the movie viewing experience.

Cineplex hasn’t pinpointed any locations for this expansion yet, but Jacob said it’ll look at areas with large populations, like Montreal, Vancouver and Edmonton.

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