Written by Stephanie MacFarlane
Five years after it was announced, Cinema Guzzo in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, called Méga-Plex Saint-Jean 12, should welcome its first feature films in mid-July. French Canada Vincenzo Guzzo, President and CEO of Cinémas Guzzo.
We hope to open on Friday, July 16th. At this point, it’s 90% our history. If you are late, it will only be a few days. When the movies Come out, it makes no sense to postpone the opening because you lose Business’” Mr. Gozo said in a phone interview from Toronto where he was recording Dragon’s Lair, the English-speaking counterpart In the eye of the dragon. Inspection should be organized in the days preceding the official opening.
The construction of the cinema is progressing. A final coat of paint should be applied, some ceramics installed, and projection equipment received. Some lost items will be received soon. During the interview, Mr. Gozo explained that the seats had been installed.
Mega-Plex Saint-Jean 12 will have 12 rooms. They will all be equipped with laser projectors and four of them will be able to project 3D movies. “The brightness is increased with laser projectors compared to digital projectors. In theory, 3D will be more extraordinary than usual. This is the first time we have done this. It will be the first cinema in Quebec to be 100% laser-based,” confirms Vincenzo Gozo. The films will be presented in French. Others will also be broadcast in the original English version.
IMAX technology will not be available at opening. “All rooms are built to be IMAX rooms. I am still in discussion with them,” Mr. Guzzo continues.
The Méga-Plex Saint-Jean will have a total of 2,244 places, including spaces for people with reduced mobility.
A standard food counter will be within reach of customers. As for the Giulietta Pizzeria Napoletana, in which Mr. Guzzo owns 50% of the shares, it will have a separate door outside.
The Douglas Street cinema will also feature two rides, a carousel as well as bumper cars. “There will be 9,000 square feet of arcade, including a bowling alley. The arcade will be limited to our customers before and after movies. There will be no idling. However, this section will not be ready to open,” says the owner.
The opening of the Guzzo Cinema in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu will create about fifty part-time jobs, as well as seven to eight full-time jobs.
As for the Giulietta Pizzeria Napoletana, it will provide at least ten to fifteen jobs.
On May 29, a career fair was held at Guzzo Cinema. About a hundred candidates submitted themselves. “We have also received about 50 orders through our website,” Guzzo continues. Staff will be trained in the cinema on Taschereau Boulevard.
The construction of the cinema required an investment of approximately $12 million. The cinema complex was announced in May 2016. The foundation stone was officially laid in October 2017. The foundation was poured in the summer of 2018 and the steel structure was erected in May 2019.
Vincenzo Guzzo agrees that the build was long. “It was long and painful, but in the end it was a fun experience. In the end we succeeded. We also lost 14 months due to insecurity related to COVID-19. There was no reason to invest $2 million to complete a cinema that will remain closed due to COVID-19,” continues Mr. Guzzo.
The businessman preferred to keep his money. That’s why I pressure the government to come up with a plan. Finishing the cinema in April will not give anything. There, we have a good time.”
Mr. Guzzo recalls that the opening of the cinema is generally in line with the release of blockbuster films. These arrive in summer and December. The Guzzo Cinema in Saint-Jean will be the company’s 10th complex.