Caprice Theatres Langford is closing its doors after 24 years of bringing entertaining, thought provoking and affordable movies to the West Shore.
General Manager Brian Jupp made the announcement Friday, Dec. 6 that the cinema will be screening its final films on January 5, 2014 before closing for good.
“It’s sad news, that’s for sure,” Jupp said. “A bit surprised, but not unexpected.”
The reason behind the closure is the landlord’s desire to redevelop the property. Jupp found out earlier in the week the landlord will be terminating the lease come the new year.
“We were hoping it would be much, much later, if at all,” Jupp said. “We were pretty happy and content to keep going but obviously the landlord has plans, so they need the space.”
Jupp has worked at the cinema just short of 20 years, starting as floor staff, taking tickets and working concession, a job he said hated at first. His parents convinced him to stick it out though.
“Almost 20 years later, here I am,” Jupp said. “It was pretty magical working in a movie theatre where we got to help provide entertainment to the masses. You think about all the movies, all the kids coming in absolutely glowing and excited to see this big movie, you see the adults coming out with a satisfied look on their face. … It was just a really good feeling.”
The cinema is the second to close in Greater Victoria recently, with the Empire Capital 6 on Yates Street in Victoria closing down in October.
Caprice Langford prided itself on being something different in the theatre landscape of Victoria. Jupp said they strived for a small town feel, keeping prices affordable and priding themselves on customer service.
The cinema has struggled since the opening of the Cineplex Odeon Westshore Cinemas in 2011. That change meant the Caprice could no longer screen first-run movies and now had the competition of a new multiplex style theatre, with digital projection and better sound.
“Business changed as soon as they opened,” Jupp said. “We were fighting hard, we were trying everything we could.”
The next challenge for the cinema would have been switching over to digital projection, which is fast becoming the industry standard. Until now Jupp said they managed to get the vast majority of movies on film, but things were changing fast.
“That’s a moot point now,” he said.
Jupp said the loss of the cinema is a blow for the community.
“It’s no secret with us closing some people are going to be priced out of seeing movies,” Jupp said. “Maybe not altogether, but … they’ll probably cut down. So that part is sad.”
The closing will also mean about a dozen people will be looking for new jobs, including Jupp, who said he doesn’t know yet where he will go.
Plans haven’t been made for the final night yet, but Jupp said they will be looking at doing something special to mark the occasion.