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Partners in Cinemax found in breach of agreement on theatre

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

Nelsonites will have to wait a while longer for their big screen fix as the City has confirmed the partners in Nelson Cinemax have “breached” their agreement with the City and the theatre’s opening is now dubious.

Formal notice has been sent to the partners in Nelson Cinemax — the proposed new name for the Civic Theatre — indicating multiple breaches on their lease, said City manager Kevin Cormack, and it has been terminated.

The City is now working with them to see if they can get back on track and deliver the project as they had indicated last year, Cormack said.

“They’ve had some issues and we’re just trying to see how that fits with the agreements they’ve signed with us,” he said.

The Cinemax group breached the time limit set out in the original agreement by several weeks as to when they had to have the renovation completed and open the theatre, said Cormack.

The 764-seat theatre was expected to open at the end of October with 440 new seats and major improvements to the entire inside of the venerable structure. Work is not complete on the inside of the theatre.

They haven’t meant the terms of the agreement. If it becomes clear they can’t perform, Cormack said, it is just like any other contract in that the City has the rights to remedy the situation.

“That is the process we are now in, looking at how we remedy their breach. They have to show us they can deliver that project or, ultimately, we would have to say, ‘No, you don’t have that capability,’ and we would look at who else would have that capability,” he said.

Nelson Cinemax was the result of “three combined ideas about how to bring about something special to the theatre in Nelson,” according to the group’s website (, that still says they are opening soon.

The intent was for the theatre to be playing first run movies, opening seven evenings each week and hosting matinees when scheduled.  

The theatre was to be made available for private movie viewings, seminars, workshops, conference activities, art showings and performances.

Cinemax also claimed they would work with local artists, musicians and performers to “make this a truly diverse and creative environment.”