Thanks to there being more than a few different movie theatres (not all owned by Cineplex) throughout Vancouver, there’s a decent variety in selection. Fifth Avenue Cinemas likes to show smaller stuff, Scotia Bank Movie Theatre gets the big blockbusters and raunchy comedies, International Village sits somewhere in between, and Vancity Theatre likes arthouse.
There’s one outlier, however, and it’s The Rio Theatre. The Rio shows a wide variety of films. Most of them are indie, and low budget, and the theatre seems to catch whatever Vancity and Fifth Avenue don’t, but they also show older films. They revive them. They show the ones you’d expect (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Blade Runner), and ones you might not (Meeting People Is Easy).
It’s unfortunate that The Rio Theatre is an outlier. Revival theatres provide an education, or at least a context for a lot films today. Theoretically they’re there to give audiences the chance to see movies long gone. Parents can bring their kids to the original Star Wars. Anyone young wondering why Robert Redford is such a big deal when “he was only in that Captain America movie and that cowboy one” inevitably gets a lesson one weekend or another.
It’s ironic that a city so steeped in the film business doesn’t take the time to devote itself to showcasing its past work. It’s one of the many reasons I think people believe the movie theatre business focuses on money (it is a business after all) rather than art. They’re not willing to take a chance starting up a pure revival theatre, even if the demand is there, because they don’t trust that demand. It’s true that during a major Marvel release the revival theatre might suffer, but then again I think there’s a healthy amount of moviegoers actively looking for an alternative specifically on those premiere weekends.
If the reviews and backlash for this summer’s reboots and sequels (Ghostbusters, Independence Day: Resurgence) prove anything, it’s that people want to see the original, not the remade.