Loss of industry may imply lighting out for Grenville film theater

If business does not improve, the curtain could soon fall for the last time at the only movie theater in the region.

In October 2021, Laurentian Cinemas in Grenville was taken over by the Montreal-based CinéStarz chain and the building was sold to a separate owner, after long time movie theater owners Danielle Lacasse and Yvon Myner retired. CineéStarz agreed to operate the two-screen theater for another year.

The building’s owners are planning to demolish the structure and build condominiums on the site. Originally, CinéStarz was going to consider having movie theater space in the new building, but a lack of customers and revenue at the existing location has the president of the company reconsidering that possibility.

“To pursue a new movie theater in a new building is not enticing,” said Bruce Gurberg.

Since taking over the Grenville movie theaterCineéStarz began offering up to four screenings a day at the location. However, the extra options have not resulted in extra business.

“We’ve gone far and beyond what a normal movie theater would have done to make that Grenville location work,” Gurberg said.

While screenings increased at CinéStarz Laurentian Cinemasticket prices remained the same as before the change in management.

“I was hoping for an improvement,” Gurberg remarked.

On one recent Tuesday, only seven customers showed up at the theater during the entire day.

Gurberg said he has advertised extensively in local newspapers and was distributing 3,000 brochures per week, listing movies and showtimes.

“There’s been no return,” he said, noting the Grenville location has been operating at a loss.

Gurberg commented that going to see a movie is much more affordable than other entertainment like an NHL hockey game or going out for dinner.

“What event costs less? He remarked.

If business improves at CinéStarz Cinemas Laurentiens over the next few monthsGurberg said he could reconsider and negotiate a deal with the building’s owner for new movie theater space.

“If people can show me that theater belongs there, I can still make a deal,” he said.

It is not clear when, or if, the movie theater in Grenville could cease to operate, but CinéStarz had originally intended to operate the theater for one year, which will be up in October.

According to Grenville Mayor Pierre Thauvette, the owner of the movie theater building would like to develop 36 condominiums on the property. However, plans have not yet been deposited with the village and no permits have been issued. The project remains in the planning and design stage at this point, the mayor said.

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