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Cineplex Odeon Films (also known as Cineplex Odeon Pictures and Cineplex-Odeon Films) was the film distribution unit of the Canadian cinema chain Cineplex Odeon Corporation.

Cineplex Odeon Films
IndustryEntertainment (movie theaters)
SuccessorsAlliance Films
FoundedApril 1978; 41 years ago (1978-04)
DefunctMay 1998; 21 years ago (1998-05)
HeadquartersToronto, Ontario, Canada
Key people
Garth Drabinsky and Nat Taylor

The Cineplex Odeon Corporation was created in 1979 by Garth Drabinsky and Nathan Taylor. The first cineplex was opened at the Eaton Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Cineplex ultimately went bankrupt in 2001, after changing ownership numerous times.[1]

The company began in 1979 as Pan-Canadian Film Distributors, a partnership between film producer Garth Drabinsky and inventor Nat Taylor,[2] based in Toronto, Ontario.[3] At the time of its establishment in the United States, the Cineplex Odeon theatre chain and the tie-in studio were owned by the MCA entertainment group, also the then-owners of Universal Pictures.[4] On August 27, 1986, Pan-Canadian renamed itself as Cineplex Odeon Films,[5] and began operations at Los Angeles, California in November 1986;[6] Garth Drabinsky became its chief officer.[7] By 1990, it was Canada's largest independent film distribution company.[8] Later in the 1990s, it changed its name to Odeon Films on account of its historic significance, before releasing one of their final films—the science-fiction film Cube (released in American markets under Trimark Pictures' banner).

Cineplex Odeon had grown to become one of the largest film exhibitors in North America by 1993, with 1,630 screens and operations in 365 locations within North America. At this point, Cineplex Odeon accounted for roughly 8% of box office revenues in North America, competing mostly with Famous Players in the Canadian market. Cineplex Odeon and Famous Players were two dominant forces in the Canadian film industry, with both organizations accounting for roughly two-thirds of the industry's annual revenues. The key to the success of the two organizations was in large part due to their supply chain. Cineplex Odeon had exclusive first-run rights to films made by Columbia and Universal Studios, which allowed them to seize a hefty market share.[9]

Controversy surrounded the practices of both Cineplex Odeon and Famous Players in 1998. The two companies had been accused of operating as a duopoly, and choking off the film supply so smaller theatres could not show the same products. On December 16, 1998, the tides began to turn with AMC Entertainment's announcement of Canadian expansion. AMC opened its first Canadian theatres in Oakville, and Toronto, Ontario, and had opened 15 theatres by 2000.[10]


Corporate restructuringEdit

In December 1993, it was announced by Michael Herman (Cineplex Odeon Films Canada Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs) that as part of a corporate restructuring, Bryan Gliserman had been appointed to the role of Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs effective January 17, 1994. Gliserman would oversee all of Cineplex Odeon Films operations, and would be responsible for the maintenance and improvement of Cineplex Odeon Films distribution services. Gliserman would also build relationships with key suppliers like Columbia/Tri-Star, Savoy Pictures and Gramercy Pictures. Prior to his promotion, Gliserman had spent 17 years in the Canadian film industry. He had experience with development, financing, production, distribution and exhibition posts with a wide variety of organization.[11]

In early 1998, Cineplex Odeon itself was forced to scrap its distribution arm because Canadian law forbids foreign companies from owning domestic distributors. 75% of the remaining studio folded into Alliance Atlantis Communications while the rest was donated to a foundation representing Canada's film schools. The company is now defunct. The owner of Cineplex Odeon Films, Alliance Films has folded into Entertainment One in 2013.[12]

Galaxy EntertainmentEdit

In 1999, former Cineplex executives Ellis Jacob and Steve Brown created their own company called Galaxy Entertainment. By 2003, Galaxy Entertainment had amassed 19 theatres and $75 million in box office revenue. At this point, Cineplex Odeon was emerging from bankruptcy. Galaxy saw this as the perfect opportunity to increase shareholder value, and sought to acquire Cineplex Odeon, and the two companies were eventually merged into one. After the merger, Cineplex Odeon and Galaxy Entertainment became a publicly traded company, forming the Cineplex-Galaxy Income Trust.[13]

The theatre chain of the same name, meanwhile, merged with the Japanese electronics giant Sony, resulting in the eventual formation of Loews Cineplex Entertainment.

Film historyEdit

Notable films from Cineplex Odeon's early days include The Glass Menagerie, The Last Temptation of Christ, Prancer, The Grifters, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, Madame Sousatzka, Jacknife, the Prince concert film Sign o' the Times, The Decline of the American Empire, Oliver Stone's Talk Radio, and The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland.

A home video division was also started in 1986, previously known as Pan-Canadian Video Presentations in the early 80s. The company also had a home video deal with Universal with most titles released through their MCA Video banner in the US and Canada. The home video division lasted until 1998, when it was absorbed into Alliance Atlantis along with its film distribution counterpart.

Cineplex Odeon worked with Universal for distributing and co-producing some of their notable productions in the US, such as The Glass Menagerie, The Last Temptation of Christ, Oliver Stone's Talk Radio, and Madame Sousatzka. The company also had a home video deal with Universal with most titles released through their MCA Home Video (later Universal Studios Home Video) banner. Cineplex Odeon also had an international division, Cineplex Odeon Films International, meant for distributing their films outside of North America.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Wise, Wyndham, ed. (2001). "Appendix 1: A Chronology of Canadian Film and Television". Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film. University of Toronto Press. p. 246. ISBN 0-8020-8398-6.
  3. ^ The Canadian Press (CP) (July 25, 1985). "Demand increases for death movie after protests". The Leader-Post. p. A 13. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  4. ^ Acland, C. (1998). The Cultural Industries in Canada: Problems, Policies and Prospects. Canadian Journal of Communication, 23(4). doi:
  5. ^ "Cineplex Odeon Corp.—Film Distribution Unit Changes Name". Standard & Poor's Daily News. McGraw-Hill. August 29, 1986.
  6. ^ The Canadian Press (CP) (November 14, 1986). "Cineplex forms film-distribution subsidiary". Montreal Gazette. p. B-8. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  7. ^ Kasindorf, Martin (November 8, 1987). "Movie Houses Turn Movie Makers: Capturing big-name film makers and releasing their heartfelt projects has brought prestige to Cineplex Odeon, an aggressive company that entered the movie-making business just a year ago. / In the Film Business, They Call Him 'Garth Vader'". Newsday. p. 09 (Part 2). Retrieved November 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Kipps, Charles (1990). Out of Focus: Power, Pride, and Prejudice—David Puttnam in Hollywood. Century. p. 255. ISBN 0-7126-3911-X. One of [Cineplex Odeon Corporation's] divisions, Cineplex-Odeon Films, quickly became Canada's largest independent film distributor, leading to a joint venture with Robert Redford's production entity, Wildwood Enterprises, as well as other Hollywood filmmakers.
  9. ^ Acland, C. (1998). The Cultural Industries in Canada: Problems, Policies and Prospects. Canadian Journal of Communication, 23(4). doi:
  10. ^ Shecter, B. (1998, Dec 16). Adventures in the screen trade cineplex odeon and famous players have run the movie theatre business pretty much their own way. but, with the launch of AMC entertainment's first canadian 'megaplex,' things are about to change. National Post Retrieved from
  11. ^ Lichtman, H. (1993, Dec 17). Cineplex odeon corp. reorganization of cineplex odeon films canada. PR Newswire Retrieved from
  12. ^
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