Reopening cinemas: Samobor Cinema in Samobor
In this article, we have the feedback of Kino Samobor’s team in Croatia on how was their reopening experience.
Cinemas across the world have slowly started reopening. Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain are some of the countries which allowed cinemas to reopen already starting in May.
Curious to know what it feels like to go back to the cinema after months of closure, we have asked some of our members to give us their feedback on the reopening experience.
We have collected the first impressions of: Splendid Cinema in Riga, Latvia; Cinema Zlatna Vrata in Split, Kino Samobor in Samobor and Kino Valli in Pula, in Croatia; Kinodvor in Ljubljana, in Slovenia; Kino Tapiola in Espoo, in Finland; LantarenVenster in Rotterdam and Chassé Cinema in Breda, in the Netherlands; Cinema Rosebud in Reggio Emilia and Beltrade Cinema in Milano, in Italy; CinéMadart in Carthage, Tunisia; Cinéma Le Studio in Aubervilliers, France; Uránia and Béke Art Cinema Screens in Miskolc, Hungary.
Kino Samobor, Samobor (Croatia)
We talked with Jelena Vojvoda, director of Kino Samobor
How was the experience of reopening? Have there been any unforeseen difficulties around the reopening?
We have reopened our cinema on Thursday May 28th.
There were two big issues to resolve before the reopening. The first one concerned the selection of films – as you know, the distribution of films is very poor at the moment. In the end, we selected Parasite for the initial screening, followed by some blockbuster reruns. I think this will be our biggest problem in the coming weeks as well: the low level of films available.
The second issue was about the preventive measures of COVID-19 and how to integrate them into our programme.
How did you implement the security and health guidelines given by the authorities of your country?
What we did was the following:
Adjust the online ticket sales program – in order to automatically prevent people from buying seats that were less than 3 seats closer than the seats already sold. Each group of people getting together has three free seats on the right and left. We also sell tickets only every two rows. This means that out of 240 seats at the cinema, we can sell about 60 seats. This also means that we can’t use our smaller hall (which has 60 seats).
We have developed posters for the audience explaining how to behave at the cinema: disinfecting your hands, getting in and out of the cinema with 1.5 metres of space for other people, not coming with fever, etc. We have put up posters in the cinema hall, on the cinema building, on different places in the city, on FB, on our website, etc.
We have made a simple and short video about the behaviour at the cinema and we show it before each screening.
We have developed a procedure for employees regarding protection from COVID-19 with protective masks, hand disinfection, temperature measurement before coming to work, etc.
We have developed a procedure for disinfection of the cinema before and after each film screening: disinfection of all handrails, toilets and handles, ventilation of the cinema 30 minutes between each screening with all doors open. This is why we now have 3 screenings per day instead of 4.
We have adjusted the automatic ventilation of the cinema to take fresh air only from outside and not from inside the cinema.
All this has been communicated on all available communication channels – local radio, local web portals, city web page, cinema web page, fb before reopening.
Marketing was done in standard ways – poster, jumbo poster, web, fb, radio, direct marketing.
How did your audience react?
Results were better than expected.
We have sold out Parasite screening! Other film screenings sold out 50% of the available seats.
The people who came were very happy, many of them excited because this was their first social activity after 2-3 months of isolation. They were all satisfied with the level of prevention of COVID-19 at the cinema. During the screenings of animated films they felt comfortable leaving the children at the cinema alone (we also received requests for the children’s birthdays).
We look forward to the next few weeks and hope to meet the needs of the audience for the social cinema events they now have. And we also hope to expand them.