Rahim Manji with director Steven Spielberg’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (submitted photo)

Q&A: Rahim Manji on movies, including the time he melted Shrek’s face

‘I think we traumatized a few kids,’ movie theatre operator says

Rahim Manji and family operate several independent movie theatres in B.C., including Surrey’s Hollywood 3, Rialto White Rock and Caprice White Rock. Online, they’re at hollywood3.ca.

1. With theatres currently closed, what are you binge-watching on Netflix?

Money Heist, Ozark and Tiger King (Carole Baskin did it).”

2. What was the first movie you ever saw in a theatre, as a kid?

E.T. I actually just saw it again with my son since we are staying safe at home.”

3. What movie have you seen the most number of times?

Shrek 2, because it was the first movie we played in our very first theatre, in Qualicum Beach in 2005. It was a one-screen theatre with 80 seats that we converted, an old pub downstairs in a hotel. Watched it 43 times. It was so small our concession stand was inside the theatre, with no wall separating the seats and our popcorn machine.”

4. What’s the most popular movie you’ve ever shown, with the largest crowds?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but the last Harry Potter was a close second. Lots of guests dressed up for both movies.”

5. What’s the worst movie you’ve seen?

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which starred Bill Murray. Played it in my one-screen theatre and had four people show up all week. It was the only movie I could play in the one-screen theatre, in Ladysmith.”

6. You made headlines in 2015 for being among the first local theatres to show The Interview, the controversial comedy about a plot to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. How did that go?

“Went relatively well. FYI, Kim Jong-un didn’t show up.”

• READ MORE: Surrey screening of ‘The Interview’ goes off without a hitch.

7. A few years ago you hosted a sing-a-long of Disney’s Big Hero 6 as a fundraiser for Variety – The Children’s Charity. Tell me why that was special for you and your family.

“We have a special-needs son and Variety was there when we needed them. My son has raised money for Variety ever since as a way to give back and help kids like him. It is a charity that is very close to our hearts.”

8. Do you remember the very first movie you screened at a theatre?

“Yes, Shrek 2. It was my first time running a theatre and only had a one-hour lesson in learning the projection equipment. I messed up so bad and burned the film, and all you saw on screen was Shrek’s face melting. I think we traumatized a few kids. We had kids crying in the theatre, it was crazy. It was old-school 35-millimetre film, not digital like it is now.”

9. If you didn’t operate movies theatres, what career would you probably have?

“Male model, for type-2 diabetes. LOL, just kidding. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love the movies and love seeing smiles on people’s faces. We enjoy helping people get out of reality for a few hours.”

10. If you could have a coffee with one actor, who would it be and why?

“That’s a hard question. Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) because my son would love it. Aquaman (Jason Mamoa) for my wife (wink wink). For me, I would have to say the late Robin Williams. He brought so much laughter to the big screen. I remember watching him with my dad and laughing so hard, we were crying.”

• RELATED STORY, from 2014: Newton movie theatre reno’d as others in region close doors.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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