The impact of COVID-19 on the global cinema business (as at 14/5/20)

Japan’s cinemas have begun the process of re-opening with major circuit Toho opening up 10 sites in less affected prefectures from 15 May, after the government announced easing measures in these 34 prefectures. Aeon Cinemas is also opening 27 sites from 18 May. This does not include Tokyo and Osaka (two of the remaining 13 prefectures) which remain under emergency measures until at least the end of May. Sites will operate with capacity limits, social distancing and masks for staff and patrons.

In Germany, another State has set a date for re-opening: Rhineland-Palatinate (224 screens or 4.5% of the country’s screens) from 27 May.

Cinema City in the Czech Republic has decided not to re-open its sites until it can operate at full capacity. Cinemas in Czech Republic have been allowed to open since 11 May. Fellow circuit Cinestar opened 13 sites on the Monday.

Cinemas in Latvia were allowed to open from the 12 May although very few, if any, have done so.

Norway’s cinemas have re-opened and some figures shared show that 30 sites opened, out of 200 in total. These generated a total of just over 7,000 admissions over the weekend (Friday to Sunday). There were 225 screenings on Friday, 276 on Saturday and 322 on Sunday.

Poland will allow film and TV production to recommence from 18 May, with measures in place which are being worked out. The government is also allowing outdoor and drive-in cinemas to re-open with social distancing measures in place. Other countries that are allowing shooting now or in the near future include Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greece, Czech Republic, UK and parts of Spain. Iceland is allowing international shoots back into the country from June 15.

Warner Bros has enabled cinemas to benefit from its shifted PVOD release of Scoob! On 15 May. Consumers arriving at the rental/purchased page from an exhibitor will earn that exhibitor a share of the price eventually paid ($19.99 for 2 day rental and $24.99 for purchase). 

Thriller Unhinged has moved the release date from 4 September 2020 to 1 July 2020, very much at the front of the summer re-opening of cinemas. Title is the first from newcomer Solstice Studios and while not a blockbuster, the movie does star Russell Crowe and will be a good indicator for larger films to come later in the month, such as Tenet and Mulan. This is still dependent on enough cinemas being open in US.

CineEurope is now cancelled, having been moved back from June to August. The annual event was due to take place in Barcelona from 3-6 August. A two-day online event will now be organised on 17-18 June.