After finding a neat cafe into which none of us had ventured, I’m pretty sure we would have all been content calling it a night without even hitting the movie theatre. Nevertheless, we arrived at our destination a little early so the attendant in the box office booth was a little frazzled by our presence, “who are you?”, “who told you that you had passes?”. Expecting the worst, I didn’t know if we’d even get inside at that point.
I was told I had some movie passes to a premiere last night for 3 friends and no one seemed to know what was going on. We weren’t in a terrible hurry or rush, as I said we already had a nice coffee/tea/chat around the corner. About 10 minutes later I was called over to the box office again, “who are you? What are your names?”. Since I rounded up the ladies, Corinna & Keira, for this midnight escapade I was hoping things would work out so we again stood patiently off to the side until the theatre doors opened and Mike came out.
Mike’s owned the RIO for a few years now and invested almost 1 of those years in re-making and renovating the place back into its original state, well back into its glory of a one-theatre house complete with 21st century touches.
He invited us inside for a private tour and we got the history and run down of the establishment, built in 1938 and was coined “the showplace of Vancouver”. Over the last decade it faded into the shadows until he took over ownership – the entire place looks shiney and new again. Their inaugural event was showing the World Cup games on the big screen last year, with participating countries’ flags remaining on the walls of the theatre.
There are touches of the ‘old days’ and a photo of the RIO back in its heyday hangs in the lobby. A big bright red curtain covers the screen at the front, and there’s even a balcony. The seats are upgraded (close to Strawberry Hill standards… which if you don’t know in my books beats Silvercity any day) complete with arm rests that raise up and down. Mike was a very gracious host and I know my experience at the RIO was very positive. The movie was entertaining, however it’s the best that can be expected from the third movie in a series with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
I’ll be recommending this to John as another one of Mike’s ‘upgrades’ was to start playing first run films (Rush Hour 3 is running for the next week, until the 16th). The RIO is $3 less than other movie establishments, at $8 for adults and they have cheapie Tuesdays and weekend matinees which are only $5. Best part is, since it’s not a googoplex corporate theatre house, there are no commercials before the movie at any point, just sweet sweet previews.