Toronto’s historic Revue Cinema could be forced to close due to landlord dispute

The historic Revue Cinema is warning patrons of a possible closure by Sunday due to a dispute with their landlord over a renewal of the cinema’s lease.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, members of the Revue Film Society said that they have been unable to secure a renewal of their lease past June 30.

“While we continue to attempt to negotiate in good faith with our landlord, we are unsure if we will be able to open past June 30. In the event of a disruption, ticket holders, event rentals and members will be reimbursed,” the Instagram post states.

“We will communicate more information as available and appreciate your patience as we work through this difficult time and identify next steps. We appreciate your support but may be unable to respond to inquiries in a timely manner.”

The 245-seat cinema is a designated heritage site that has been a staple of Toronto’s West-end since 1912, making it one of the city’s oldest operating theatres.

Grant Oyston, chair of the Revue Film Society, told the Globe and Mail on Thursday that they have not been served a written eviction notice, “but we have been told by our landlord and his representative that he will have us out on July 1.”

“We’ve had the same landlord for 17 years now, operating on five-year commercial leases. We had every reason to believe the lease would be renewed at the end of this month, and with three days left on the current term, he threatened to kick us out. We’ve had films booked, events like weddings. It’s a huge shock” Oyston told the publication.

The Revue’s landlord is Danny Mullin, a 96-year-old real estate investor who purchased the property back in 2007 and handed the building’s operations over to the Revue Film Society. He told the Globe that no one is planning to evict anyone—he just wants the board out of there, noting that he believes the Revue’s operators have not properly maintained the theatre.

“I’ve said that everyone who works there can keep their jobs if they want to work for me,” Mullin told the publication on Thursday. “I’ve been good to them, giving them everything that they’ve wanted, and they haven’t done anything since. All I want now is to get rid of the board. We’ll take over Monday morning, nothing changes.”

During negotiations, Mullin reportedly requested a hike in the rent from $10,000 a month to $15,000—an amount that Oyston said the Society has agreed to, “[b]ut he’s refused to accept our cheques,” he told the Globe.

Whatever the outcome, the Revue is considered one of Toronto’s most beloved movie theatres—and patrons clearly want this issue quickly resolved (even going as far as creating a petition to protect the cinema.