Reopening cinemas: LantarenVenster in Rotterdam
In this article, we have the feedback of LantarenVenster’s team in the Netherlands on how was their reopening experience.
Cinemas across the world have slowly started reopening. 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, of Cinema Zlatna Vrata in Split, Croatia, of Kino Samobor in Samobor, Croatia, of Kino Valli in Pula, Croatia, of Kinodvor in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Kino Tapiola in Espoo, Finland, LantarenVenster in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Chassé Cinema in Breda, the Netherlands.
LantarenVenster, Rotterdam (the Netherlands)
We talked with Roderik Lentz, head of programming at LantarenVenster
How was the experience of reopening? How did your audience react?
Re-opening our cinema, on June 1st, went quite smooth. We made a routing in our building which was very clear to the audience and that worked well. The audience was happy and grateful to be back.
As you can see in the pictures, we started we a marketing campaign ‘we draaien weer’, which means something like We’re Operational Again (but we use the same word in Dutch for rolling a film).
Thanks to digital platform Picl we stayed in touch with our audience with new online releases during the lockdown.
2200 people bought a ticket in the first week. Compared with the same week in June 2019, 3600 people, we’re quite happy.
We started our program with 15 films, 8 old films that were released in Feb/March and 7 new releases.
The second week admissions went down to 1400, but that’s also because the weather was lovely.
How did you implement the security and health guidelines given by the authorities of your country?
According to the rules in The Netherlands, a distance of 1,5 between people is required, 30 people are allowed per room.
We’re very fortunate with a big foyer and restaurant so we have no problem with this. It is easy to keep away from other people. I heard from small cinemas with narrow hallways, that’s their biggest problem.
After the screening the audience has to leave through the back door (which isn’t very nice, but inevitable).
From July 1st we’re allowed 100 people per room, but with 1,5 meter distance, that’s still 30-40 people per room (normally 100-120 seats), except for the big room. That’s 80 people. Normally that’s 250 seats.
For the next few months our biggest concerns are:
- Finance: how are we going to survive the future? We missed about 420.000 euros in box-office (based on the same period as last year) and also a lot of money from the bar/restaurant.
- The quality of films. Not much big hits are going to be released in the next few months.
- Special screenings (classics, events, import films or screenings with guests or talks) are usually expensive to produce and have a higher screening fee. Usually we can cover the costs with 200-250 tickets that are sold in the big room, but now that’s not possible anymore. So from an artistical point of view, this makes our program poorer.
- People come to our cinema for a nice evening in the town in a vibrant environment. Do they keep coming back in a big empty space? Will it still be attractive to keep coming to the cinema?