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A look at the actual situation of cinemas and possible reopening strategies

A look at the actual situation of cinemas and possible reopening strategies

As discussions about reopening cinemas have started in several countries and tentative dates have been set for conditional reopenings at the end of May and beginning of June, we would like to share with you some information about the planned dates and good practices that could be helpful in the coming months to welcome audiences in a safe way and to make watching a film in community part of life again (you can check our dedicated page for updates).

We are counting with several difficulties after the reopening, due to the fragmented way cinemas will be opened, but also because a number of health and security measures will have to be respected for some time. And still, the people will be eager to be out, to see each other and discuss about films and life.

The lack of new titles being released is expected to make things hard, as for the international market the next established release would be Christopher Nolan’s Tenet mid-July, so cinemas will have to be creative in the way they put together their programming, making good use of repertoire, national films and show their strength in programming. Then 1-2 months after reopening, the balanced distribution of releases will be of importance, but with some concerted effort and collaboration among the exhibitors, distributors and other stakeholders, with the support of the national film centers it will be navigable.

Reestablishing trust with the audience will take some time, with cautious people avoiding closed spaces – and cinemas will be obliged to observe distancing and hygiene measures. Bringing back school classes and of a digital-loving young audience will be another challenge. But by staying creative, welcoming and making sure that health standards are met, in time people will return.

A limited seating capacity will lead to reduced income and there will be a need for continued public support for the sector if the cinemas won’t have enough income to cover their costs from their activities. This is a reason for which exhibitors might not be too eager to reopen.

There are many challenges, partnerships and a proactive attitude might be  :

  • Create working groups and buying groups in your networks to plan the reopening together and to have everything you need to ensure a safe environment for the audience (examples: Art House Convergence, Zurück ins Kino, UK Cinema Exhibitors, Kinomacher-Forum)
  • Inititate a dialogue and research with representatives of the distributors and the local national film center and other members of the value chain, to create a release calendar that gives as many films as possible a fair visibility and the possibility to reach audiences (example: ADRC – research questions)
  • Get proactive about reaching out to local authorities with a plan for the reopening the cinemas in a safe manner (example: AG Kino)
  • Plan for a reopening season with partners and an attractively curated programme (and join the European Arthouse Cinema Day) to show cinemas are alive and still the place for their communities.

Updates on reopening of cinemas can be found here.

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