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.
By now Tanner Zipchen has become synonymous with Cineplex, to the point I formed a cult surrounding him and the Pre-Show. I can't imagine it without him. #savetanner— Angus Macpherson is writing (@ThePrimeAngus) December 16, 2019
The 29-year-old has amassed somewhat of a cult following with Canadians and his termination was not taken well.
Cineplex fired Tanner Zipchen, who we fighting Canada?? pic.twitter.com/55KqIm76wr— NIK 🎈 (@NikitaRayy) January 13, 2020
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.
I'm mad about this and keep deleting tweets to Cineplex about how disappointing and tone deaf this decision was. Tanner was the trend when the CineWorld deal was announced. He genuinely is what makes going to the movies feel like it has its own distinctly Canadian flavour.— Kass 🌌 (@kassimatics) January 13, 2020
Imagine firing Tanner Zipchen (the highlight of the moviegoing experience) and expecting people to support your business. Never buying a cineplex ticket again!— Dippy Fresh **REHIRE TANNER ZIPCHEN** (@Meleelover64) January 13, 2020
opening a cineplex competitor that doesn't play movies, just tanner z content— jos (@josiahhughes) January 13, 2020
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.
First Marc from gear guide, now Tanner Z?! Is ANYTHING sacred at cineplex?! https://t.co/cX5Pd6mZtf— allan g (@algibbons) January 13, 2020
Damn, you crushed it, Tanner. You'll be missed by all your fans (both colleagues and audiences). And I truly enjoyed shooting with you when I had the privilege to do so. Keep us in the loop on your adventures and DM me to grab a drink when you're up for it. https://t.co/HPRaFd4B0m— Marc Saltzman (@marc_saltzman) January 13, 2020
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.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.