Spotted! Cineplex brings the movie experience to balconies

While the pandemic has exacerbated VOD trends, the theatre exhibition company wanted to remind Canadians of the magic of a movie experiences.


It may have been some time since Canadians have had a good, old-fashioned movie experience, but Cineplex recently brought the fun and excitement of going to the movies to some Toronto condo dwellers.

The family film How to Train Your Dragon was projected onto a 40-foot high wall, while residents in Midtown Toronto enjoyed the show from the comfort of their balconies.

The audio was shared through a select FM channel and Cineplex popcorn was delivered to the viewers through partner SkipTheDishes.

Although the execution created a big, OOH-style splash, it was creative-led, with indie agency Zulu Alpha Kilo handling the execution and promotion. Prior to the event, the pre-promotion was handled in an old-school fashion, with posters created for the condo building to inform residents of the timing.

The one-night stunt is part of Cineplex’s broader goals to keep Canadians informed of its reopening plans, although the company is keeping the door open for more possible screenings. After three months of temporary closures, Cineplex is reopening its theatres in all markets where it is permitted by local governments as early as the end of the month.

The pandemic has also exacerbated media consumption trends, with more and more families consuming OTT options for both TV and movies. Some films have pushed back their theatrical release, while others like Trolls World Tour struck a deal to debut on VOD rather than in theatres. Zulu founder and chief creative office Zak Mroueh tells MiC that while many are watching streaming services, Cinepex “wanted to provide something more than that, something beyond that – a shared experience.”

While cinemas around the country will see a gradual opening, the nation’s small number of drive-in theatres re-opened at the beginning of May. While the options have proven to be popular – not only for movies but also for events like banquets and church services – it’s not a practice that favours dense urban environments. Since Toronto’s sole drive-in theatre operator, The Docks, ceased its movie services in 2018, the closest drive-in to the city is in Oakville.

The Cineplex screening event also included a donation drive, with proceeds going to Food Banks Canada. Throughout the pandemic, Cineplex has been delivering home movie viewing to living rooms through the Cineplex Store, partnering with both SkipTheDishes and UberEats to provide delivery of popcorn (and larger meals from The Rec Room in markets where it’s available). Since that service began, the company has donated $1 from every order to Food Banks Canada.

Instead of coming attractions, the movie was preceded by a pre-recorded message from Canadian actor Jay Baruchel, who stars in the movie as Hiccup, about the Food Banks Canada initiative.

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