The impact of COVID-19 on the global cinema business (as at 2/6/20)

Despite the date of 1 July being trailed by French government, the date for the re-opening of cinemas in France is now confirmed as 22 June. CGR has already said that it will be charging EUR5 for a ticket, lower than the circuit-wide average of EUR7.

In Germany, where a number of States are already open or have announced a date for opening, Berlin has now set the date of 30 June to re-open.  This State represents 5.7% of the country’s screens. Further States also now with target opening dates are Bavaria (15 June), Thuringia and Brandenburg (6 June), Hamburg (27 May; 87 screens), Sachsen-Anhalt (28 May), Baden-Wurtemmberg (1 June) and Nordrhein Westphalia (30 May). These named States amount to a substantial 1,927 screens. Only two of the 16 States are to set dates.

Austrian cinemas are now allowed to re-open from 29 May, which has been moved forward a month from the previous given date of 1 July.

Poland has also confirmed a date now, setting the 6 June as the date that cinemas and gatherings of 50 people will be allowed. However, leading circuits Multikino (Vue) and Cinema City (Cineworld) have both said they are waiting for a later date to re-open.

Further afield, cinemas in Thailand are allowed to open from today (1 June). The sense locally seems to be that cinemas may remain fairly empty as has been the case in Vietnam. Audiences are capped at 200 people, as well as social distancing measures such as two empty seats between guests, face masks and temperature checks. Cinemas will also not be allowed to sell F&B, which is a principal source of revenue and may lead to cinemas choosing to wait.

Japanese cinemas were allowed to open from 15 May in 34 prefectures (out of 47) but from 1 June, cinemas in Tokyo were allowed to open up, with Aeon Cinemas and Shochiku re-opening some multiplex sites. Independent cinema Shimotakaido Cinema in Tokyo opened 1 June, but only around 10 people turned up to the first two screenings. Occupation is limited to 100 people and site needs to operate at 50% capacity.

In the fledgling market of Saudi Arabia, cinemas will be allowed to re-open from 21 June, after the current phase (31 May to 20 June) of easing measures have taken place. 

Largest Australian and New Zealand cinema circuit, Event Cinemas, has undertaken a survey of 20,000 of its patrons (hence all cinemagoers) that shows that 83% intend to visit the cinema within 12 weeks of re-opening and 94% intend to visit the cinema with the same frequency as before. The survey also looked at measures that could be taken to reassure people, with increased bathroom cleaning coming out the most popular measure. The infographic highlighting the survey can be found at:

Cinemas can open from 1 June in South Australia, which is a week before the date previously given. Most major circuits are waiting for a later date though, nearer to when the studio summer releases are slated for.

In Mexico, the government has eased lockdown in 269 towns (in 15 States) that are effectively free of COVID-19, including re-opening cinemas with appropriate distancing measures. This is from the 18 May. This does not include the 22m people in or around Mexico City. Parent group of Mexican and international circuit Cinepolis has taken a 2.8% stake in US exhibition group Cinemark.

US upmarket dine-in circuit IPIC is to re-open its Texan sites from 4 June (Houston and Fairview) and 11 June (Austin). Other sites will remain closed for now. Circuit will cease blanket and pillow service and implement a range of other measures including thermal scanners and electrostatic sprayers.

Four new US States have also permitted cinemas to open, although as is now common, most cinemas have not yet opened: Arkansas (from 18 May; 347 screens), Louisiana (from 15 May; 434 screens), Montana (15 May; 162 screens) and Nevada (29 May; 500 screens).