The impact of COVID-19 on the global cinema business (as at 10/6/20)
The State of California has given the go-ahead for cinemas to open from 12 June, the same date as production can re-start. Cinemas will have a maximum capacity of 25% or 100 people whichever is lower. Face masks on staff and customers will be mandatory. California has nearly 5,000 screens and is the US’ largest market, followed by Texas with 4,000 screens. The re-opening of California is a strong sign to the global cinema market that the summer season will be able to go ahead. However, it is unlikely that many cinemas will actually open this week, especially at 25% capacity levels.
US exhibitor Cinemark has said that it will start re-opening from 19 June, starting with Dallas, Texas and finish up with all US sites open by 1 July in a four-phase process. The first phase will open five cinemas and test the processes in place against COVID-19. Initially, the cinemas will operate at 50% capacity unless otherwise stipulated by local authorities. Group’s Latin American cinemas will not be opening for now, with an estimate of August. Cinemark believes that cinema will not be able to operate normally until 2022.
AMC Entertainment has expressed some doubt over whether it can survive as an exhibitor, with cash resources to last until late summer. As our data shows, governments are beginning to allow exhibitors to open up, although at restricted capacity levels which also concerns AMC. Group has already opened in Norway and it expects to be fully operational, globally, in July. On the plus side, exhibitor says it has patched up relations with Universal.