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At age 75, the Roxy Theatre is back to screening movies

The Roxy began showing movies again two weeks ago, with several Bollywood screenings, and the leaseholder also hopes to hold live events in the venue

Movies have returned to the 75-year-old Roxy Theatre on Quadra Street for the first time in more than a decade.

Leaseholder Andrew Golin said he’s not worried about whether there’s room in Victoria for another movie theatre.

“There are markets which certainly have too many ­theatres, but Victoria is not one of them,” said Golin, who also holds the lease for the Capitol 6 theatre on Yates Street and recently purchased the Caprice Theatre in Duncan.

“If anything, Victoria has a shortage of movie theatres.”

In March, Golin, who was raised in Victoria but is now based in Nevada, signed a multi-year lease with the owner of the 1949 Roxy building, Strandlund Investments Ltd.

The Roxy began showing movies again two weeks ago, with several Bollywood screenings that did well, said Golin, who is in the process of turning the Roxy into a multi-purpose space that can host live events in addition to films.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has been re-released in theatres, is currently screening there, and will be followed in coming days by indie film ­Hundreds of Beavers (June 17-19), Bollywood hit Maharaja (June 18-20), and the offbeat comedy Thelma (June 21-27).

“There are some films that don’t play Victoria, so those are the kinds of films we will be programming there,” Golin said.

Films whose runs at the Capitol 6 or Odeon have ended but “still have some life in them” will also be screened, he said.

The Roxy is one of three ­theatres and nine screens on Vancouver Island now under the stewardship of Golin Cinemas Inc.

Golin hopes to reopen the two-screen Caprice in Duncan next month. Duncan has been without a theatre since Dec. 31, when the Caprice was shuttered unexpectedly.

Golin believes a theatre in Duncan can do well if run effectively, as the nearest cinemas are in Nanaimo or Langford.

The return of movies to the Roxy is the latest in a long line of reinventions for the building.

Local businessman Howie Siegel ran the Roxy as a movie theatre — and occasional concert venue — from 1986 until 2007, when it was sold to Michael Sharpe, who ran it ­intermittently until 2013.

Sharpe eventually sold the building to Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre, which ran it as a performing arts space until 2022, when the non-profit company sold the building to current owner Strandlund Investments.

At the time, Strandlund said it had purchased the Roxy and neighbouring Stan Hagen Centre for Families on Hillside Avenue to hold for future redevelopment, and had no immediate plans for the properties.

Blue Bridge entered into a three-year renewable lease with Strandlund that ended abruptly on Dec. 31, when the theatre company liquidated its assets.

Golin entered the picture soon after. Upgrades, including acoustical treatments and digital projection and sound equipment, were needed before the Roxy could return to screening films, Golin said.

Further improvements, including a liquor licence, are in the works and will need to be in place before comedy and music events can be held in the building, he said.

As for the Capitol 6, Golin has a multi-year lease agreement with Jawl Properties Ltd., which purchased the building in 2015 and leased it to Golin Cinemas the following year.

A rezoning and development ­application to demolish the building at the corner of Yates and Blanshard and build a mixed-use complex with ground-floor commercial space and three levels of underground parking was approved in 2022, but the development is not expected to happen anytime soon.

The six-screen theatre, which shows first-run movies, has been enjoying strong returns in recent years, according to Golin. “We’re happy and the customers are happy, so it’s a good situation.”

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