The impact of COVID-19 on the global cinema business (as at 28/5/20)

Cinemas in Denmark have opened three weeks early, as the government eases the lockdown in place. The original date was 8 June 2020 but cinemas actually began to open on 21 May 2020.

French cinemas are set to re-open on 1 July, according to the Minister of Culture although this is not yet confirmed. The confirmation is expected at end May. The Minister also said that all cinemas need to come back at the same time, to ensure distribution costs are amortised and so consumers are not confused. Many countries have a more federal structure and cinemas are re-opening in a less centralised way, which will make it more difficult for distributors to gain the audience volume they need for releasing titles.

Some larger cinemas in Germany have re-opened along with drive-ins, which are operating in a number of places around the world. Vue’s Cinemaxx circuit opened three sites in the past week.

Cinemas in the UAE are also now allowed to re-open from 27 May 2020, with a 30% capacity and social distancing measures. Many cinemas are also asking patrons and staff to wear masks and are only offering online booking.

In the UK, a survey of its members undertaken by the Independent Cinema Office (ICO) shows that 59% of respondents believe they can safely enforce social distancing guidelines, whereas 41% don’t. Also, while some expected to open in July and August, more of the cinemas surveyed believe that they will re-open in September and more worryingly, some said next year. Cineworld has recently said it expects all its sites to be re-open by July, as long as government allows.