It’s news that shocked the Canadian cinematic world to its core.
Tanner Zipchen, the beloved host of the Cineplex Pre-Show, has announced he was let go from the Canadian entertainment company.
Since 2015, Zipchen has appeared on-screen before movies, hosting interviews and guiding moviegoers through “Timeplay,” a series of pre-show games.
“Not everyone will see a particular movie with a particular actor,” Zipchen told the National Post in 2017. “But everyone in Canada goes to the movies, and when they do they see me.”
Zipchen’s axing is part of a series of changes at Cineplex after it was acquired by UK-based theatre chain Cineworld for $2.15 billion.
When news of the buyout first hit the public, among other concerns (what will happen to people’s hard-earned SCENE points?), many worried that Zipchen would be let go. #SaveTanner briefly trended on Twitter.
The 29-year-old has amassed somewhat of a cult following with Canadians and his termination was not taken well.
Before he became what the National Post described as “the de facto face of the monolithic Cineplex theatre chain,” Zipchen was “DJ Tanner” from Saskatoon.
Zipchen got his big break out of radio after Cineplex ran a nationwide casting call contest to find a pre-show host.
After being picked from hundreds of submissions, winning the fan vote and facing a panel of Cineplex judges, Zipchen nabbed his spot on the big screen —several of them, in fact: Cineplex has a total of 1,676 screens across the country that Zipchen’s face has graced at one point or another.
For many, Zipchen has become one of the more enjoyable aspects and a much needed personal touch in the country’s increasingly corporate moviegoing experience. Without him, some fans are considering boycotting Cineplex altogether.
Zipchen isn’t the only Cineplex personality to disappear recently. Marc Saltzman, who hosted short technology-related segments hasn’t been seen on the big screen for a couple of years.
Zipchen’s five-year run hosting the pre-show got him into some pretty cool experiences. His Instagram is littered with photos of celebrities he runs into at press junkets and on sets, when he filmed behind-the-scenes segments.
The Saskatoon native turned Canadian heritage icon didn’t mention what he’d be up to after Cineplex, and he didn’t respond to HuffPost Canada’s request for comment.
A spokesperson for Cineplex confirmed that Zipchen is no longer with the company, and said in a statement, “For confidentiality reasons, we are unable to discuss personnel matters. We thank him for his contributions and wish him all the best.”
Cineplex hasn’t said anything about the future of the pre-show, or who they’ll hire (if anyone) to tell people to shut off their phones and just enjoy the movie.
UPDATE: This story now includes a statement from Cineplex.