A Cinematic Pioneer

Garth Drabinsky set the standard for what we consider to be a modern movie theatre experience. He is the pioneer that used the separation between theatre exhibitions and distributors to his advantage in making theatres into his own spectacular experience. Historically, theatres were considered to be palaces, beautifully decorated and a place for the kids to play while Mom and Dad watch a film. Drabinsky used vast theatres to create his own version of what a popular and enjoyable movie-going experience should be. It is said in the Holt reading that, “Someone who purports to have reinvented the wheel [and who claims] thousands of people are going to come back to the theaters because he is putting butter on the popcorn.”(Holt 114)

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Drabinsky angered the distributors with his creative and profitable ideas; Ideas that made the cinema an ideal destination for entertainment on 18 different screens, featuring gourmet concessions, and a beautifully decorated atmosphere. Drabinsky was a marketing mastermind when he included deluxe concessions in the complex for people to purchase an espresso or fresh-baked good.

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Within two years, he had opened 111 theatres in Canada and bought out his opponent, Odeon, establishing Drabinsky as the CEO of Cineplex Odeon. Eventually, Drabinsky was forced to stop growing his business due to overhead complications within the industry. When you walk into an AMC in 2018, they have a red carpet, gold-trim along the walls, and many different screens within the complex, and a concession stands to purchase overpriced food. Drabinsky may have gotten too big to go undetected in his business ventures, however, he was able to establish a revolutionary place for cinema.

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