Global Cinema Opening/Closure Overview (UPDATED)

By Patrick von Sychowski | November 15, 2020 12:01 am PST

Thursday 26 November 2020

Top – Study by Berlin’s Hermann-Rietschel -Institut finds spread of aerosol particles (i.e. potential Covid-19 infection risk) almost negligible in cinema auditoriums and far below that of offices, as long as people are not talking, only breathing. Good reason to be quiet in cinemas! LINK There is also this article in French.

France – With French cinemas set to re-open on 15 Dec, this is good news for HBO’s Wonder Woman 1984, given that France is Europe’s largest cinema market in revenue. The film will only be in cinemas and not streaming on HBO Max, which has not launched in Europe. LINK

Germany – German cinema are likely to remain closed for the rest of 2020, unless there is a dramatic improvement in the Covid-19 number in time for the general easing of restrictions on 20 Dec. LINK “In recent weeks, several distributors had already postponed opening dates for releases from December to early next year amid growing speculation that the level of infection rates could lead to the lockdown being extended past the end of November.” LINK

The Netherlands – Europe’s first on-demand private cinema launches in The Netherlands. The(Any)Thing opens with three cinemas across NL, promising to grow to 500 across Europe within five years. Given popularity of private cinema rentals its timing could be spot on. LINK

Pakistan – Islamabad’s, “Capital Development Authority (CDA) has decided to open a drive-in cinema in the city so citizens can benefit from a safe outdoor activity amid the pandemic.” LINK

Philippines – “With open-air cinemas slowly becoming the norm in the Philippines amid the pandemic, a local mall has announced the opening of a float-in cinema in December.” LINK

UK (England) – “England has announced a return to the three-tier system after lockdown lifts Dec. 2. A number of cities, including the capital region of London and Liverpool, fall under Tier 2, which means that cinemas can reopen.” But Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol won’t. LINK

USA – It is Thanksgiving in the US, but the BO for the holiday is likely to be the worst in decades. “The only major Thanksgiving title arriving in movie theaters this year is Dreamwork’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) The Croods: A New Age. At best, the film could reach between $10M-$15M during its first five days, said Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst.” LINK

MK2 Odeon in Paris - got its revenge on CNC. (photo: Patrick von Sychowski / Celluloid Junkie)
MK2 Odeon in Paris – got its revenge on CNC. (photo: Patrick von Sychowski / Celluloid Junkie)

Wednesday 25 November 2020

France – Cinemas will be allowed to re-open 15 December, having closed 30 October, but the 9pm curfew remains. Most major French release have now been pushed back to 2021. LINK

Although there will be a 9pm curfew when cinemas reopen in France on 15 December, being able to show a ticket from a show starting earlier it will be proof enough that you have a valid reason for returning home later than that.

Korea – Korea’s leading multiplex chain in unique partnership to build luxury cinema in high-end residential development. “GS E&C will build a premium cinema of CGV Gold Class level as a facility specialized in the community space in the Xi complex, and CGV provides and screens cultural and artistic contents such as movies, musicals, operas, classical music, concerts, and live sports.” Model for other markets? LINK

UK – “Remote jury centres for sheriff court trials are to be created in Odeon cinema complexes in Ayr, East Kilbride, Dundee and Dunfermline. The facilities are in addition to two remote jury centres already identified in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where trials are set to get under way next week” LINK

Ukraine – “The weekend lockdown has become another test for the entertainment industry. But cinemas are the ones that suffer the most from the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers because weekends for such a business are the only way to stay afloat.” LINK

Tuesday 24 November 2020

India – “Low footfall in theatres has meant no blockbusters, and without big releases, the crowds will not be back; add high costs and the spectre of a second lockdown, it is a deadly cocktail for theatres” At least Tenet is releasing there soon.  LINK

Korea – As of today there is a ban on eating and drinking in cinemas in the Seoul metropolitan area, as part of Level 2 of social distancing measures. LINK “South Koreans in the greater capital area were forced to adjust to toughened social distancing rules Tuesday as cafes banned indoor seating and moviegoers were told to eat popcorn outside theaters.” Due to last two weeks. LINK

Poland – The closure of cinemas in Poland is being extended until 27 December, alongside gyms and restaurants, while shops in malls will be allowed to re-open from 28 Nov. Not-so-Merry Christmas for MULTIKINO S.A., Cinema City Poland and Helios S.A. LINK

UK – “Cinemas in England have been given the greenlight to reopen in areas with fewer cases of coronavirus, as part of the government’s ‘Covid-19 Winter plan’.” From 2 Dec. onwards. LINK

USA – As 700 cinemas in North America close almost overnight: “there’s a sense of panic in the air as the well-received body-swap horror comedy “Freaky” topped in its second weekend with just $1.2 million – one of the lowest chart-topping grosses of all time and the lowest since the box-office re-opened back in July.” LINK

Monday – 23 November 2020

China – “The structural adjustment in the post-epidemic era is accelerating, and the market concentration continues to increase. It is expected that 5%-10% of low-efficiency theaters at the rear will be eliminated throughout the year.” LINK A very detailed look at the finances of Wanda. Although it has had success in raising financing, it may still struggle.

Colombia – “Cinépolis, Procinal, Royal Films and Cinemark announced that they will open their cinemas by the end of November.” 26 November, to be precise. LINK More than 500 cinemas set to open, with seating restricted to 35%.

France – Although no re-opening date has been set, there is hope of  “a reopening of the cinemas and screenings in December, with the possibility of having at least one screening in the evening, in the event of curfew.” Push for allowing screenings at 20:00. LINK

Korea – New restrictions on restaurants, bars and cinema: “In movie theaters and performance halls, a ban on eating and drinking is imposed along with a single seat.” LINK

USA – “Alamo Drafthouse Cinema co-founder Tim League is selling off his 2,000 strong personal Mondo movie poster collection to help the beleaguered chain. “100% of the proceeds from the sale will go towards paying staff of the Alamo Drafthouse and paying debt and expenses accrued during the COVID closures. “” LINK

Vox outdoor cinema in Dubai. (photo: Vox)

Saturday-Sunday 21-22 November 2020

Korea – “South Korean multiplex operator Lotte Cinema is set to close 20% of its sites over the next two years and is joining fellow chains CJ CGV and Megabox by raising ticket prices in an effort to counter losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.”LINK

Spain – “The Federation of Cinemas of Spain (FECE) has addressed an open letter entitled ‘Save the cinemas’ to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, in which he denounces the critical situation that the sector is going through and requests measures to avoid the bankruptcy and more cinemas. ” LINK

UK/USACineworld Cinemas Ltd has secured a financial lifeline to keep its European and US (Regal) with $450m, which takes its total debt up to almost $5bn at an average interest rate of 4.5%. LINK Read what Mooky has to say.

Friday 20 November 2020

Korea (South) – Cinemas in Korea, “which are experiencing severe recession in the aftermath of the coronavirus, have raised admission fees as an incentive. Following CGV and Megabox, Lotte Cinema will also increase movie admission fees starting next month. It is an industry self-response as the theater audience has shrunk to 30% of last year due to the coronavirus outbreak.” LINK

U.A.E. – “GCC-based VOX Cinemas has launched the winter season of OUTDOOR cinema, which will allow movie lovers to watch their favourite films al fresco! Movie goers can choose from two OUTDOOR experiences in Dubai, equipped with the best visual technology and surround sound for a fully immersive big-screen experience.” LINK

UK – “Cineworld is looking to arrange a rescue deal that could mean UK cinema closures, the BBC understands. One option being discussed with bank lenders is a company voluntary arrangement, an insolvency process that could help Cineworld cut its rent bill.” LINK

USA – Canada’s Cineplex has joined AMC Theatres and Cinemark in signing deal with Universal Pictures for shortened theatrical release window. Means that Cineworld-owned Regal is the only major N. American chain not to have signed. Mid-size chains next? LINKScreen Gems Productions’ Monster Hunter will look to put cash under the tree for whatever exhibitors are staying open on Christmas Day; the Paul W.S. Anderson movie now dated to open on Christmas Day versus Wonder Woman 1984.” LINK “Cinemark and Netflix are testing a one-week run of The Christmas Chronicles 2starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, before the pic’s Nov. 25 streaming date. True, not Wonder Woman 1984 big, but it’s a first for a big circuit to completely book a Netflix title (and not on a private theater-by-theater four-wall basis which sometimes occurs).” LINK “Contrary to popular belief, [National CineMedia] is now inversely correlated with theater stocks. What is good for theaters is bad for NCMI, and vice versa. Until and unless substantial numbers of theaters actually close, NCMI will remain at risk from its new arrangements.” LINK

Thursday 19 November 2020

Germany – Cinema veteran Hans-Joachim Flebbe (Cinemaxx and Astor Lounge) says that cinemas are safer than restaurants or metro, but have become a pawn sacrifice, partly because they lack lobbying. Criticism of German cinema trade body HDF? LINK

Switzerland – Although Switzerland is not in lockdown (decisions are made at a Canton level) many cinemas are deciding to close anyway. LINK

USAWarner Bros. Entertainment‘ “Wonder Woman 1984” will open simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max in the US on 25 Dec, while opening only in cinemas in the rest of world a week earlier (16 Dec). Anyone surprised? LINK  The full statement from Warner Bros regarding the WW84 release can be found here.

Merlin cinema in Thurso. (photo: Merlin Cinemas)

Wednesday 18 November 2020

China – Very detailed data analysis of long term trends in the Chinese cinema market, particularly the shrinking attendance of the critical 25-29 age group. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how cinema will develop in the world’s largest (yes) cinema market. LINK

UK (Scotland) – “Thurso’s Merlin cinema is one of only a few movie venues in the UK open for business at the moment. Bristol-based company director Craig May confirmed that earlier in the month they were one of around just 12 that were open. Most of the cinemas that are welcoming customers at present appear to be located in Scotland.” LINK

USA – Markets reacted positively to the Universal-AMC deal. “Cinemark is up 4.5% after it became the second theater chain to come to a deal with Universal Pictures shortening the film release window for theaters, before movies head to on-demand availability.” LINK China’s media feels sorry for the plight of US cinemas, writing about “the sad winter of American cinemas” where 70% of small and medium sized cinemas may close permanently. This article was widely re-printed.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

India – “Nearly 45% of India’s movie screens are yet to resume operations despite government permits having come in as early as October citing absence of fresh content and mounting costs.” LINK “Despite a long Diwali weekend and strong promotional offers run by studios such Yashraj Films, footfalls have been weak at cinema halls.” And “While in other states, while only packaged food and beverages (F&B) are allowed inside movie halls as a precautionary measure, in Maharashtra, even packaged F&B is not allowed inside auditoriums.”

Indonesia – “Nusantara Sujatra Raya, the largest movie theater chain operator in Indonesia, resumed operations of “Cinema 21″ in the capital Jakarta on the 16th.” It has been closed for seven months. LINK

Korea – “The number of audiences who visited the movie theater in October increased by 55% from the previous month… [as] audiences increased to 4.46 million in October… [but] 68% or more decrease compared to the previous year.” LINK

The Netherlands – “Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge have yet to officially confirm it during the press conference scheduled for tonight. But cinemas and movie theaters can welcome their audiences again from Thursday, November 19.” LINK

USA – According to Gower Street Analytics “The number of open theaters in the Domestic market has been falling since early October. The Domestic market share (based on data from 2018-2019) of open theaters since recovery began topped out at 61%. ” LINK

Monday 16 November 2020

Canada – “Multiplex chains Landmark and Cineplex Odeon are no longer advertising movies past Sunday, unwilling to operate in tighter restrictions of 50 people” LINK

China (PRC) – Despite some local hits, this November has seen the lowest BO in China in the past seven year, with “a large number of theaters across the country temporarily closed 1/3 of auditoriums, no longer arranged shows after 12 noon and 10 pm, no longer hired hourly workers, and reduced labor costs.” LINK

Korea – “South Korean movie theaters and film distributors again struggled with operating losses in the third quarter due to the protracted novel coronavirus pandemic, but their deficit contracted from three months earlier, industry reports showed Monday.” LINK

The Park cinema in Kabul, in May 2012. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP

Sat-Sun 14-15 November 2020

Afghanistan – “Kabul’s oldest cinema, symbol of modern culture in Afghanistan, has been razed. The few defenders of this historic site denounced a decision equivalent to that taken by the Taliban to demolish the Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001.” LINK

Canada Cineplex becomes the latest exhibitor to jump in the private cinema rental bandwagon, with “private theater rentals for up to 20 friends and family members, starting at US$95 each.” The trend has spread worldwide since South Korea and Sweden started offering it early this year. – LINK

China (PRC) – “According to the data of the National Film Specialty Office, the box office of the National Film Week fell below [CNY] 400 million [$60.8m] from November 2 to 8, a record low for the market in 12 weeks.” LINK

Germany – The HDF trade body of Germany Cinemas has demanded Federal support for the industry, calling for a “emergency parachute for cinemas”. LINK

Korea – Save Our Cinema Project special exhibition ‘The Face of Our Cinema‘ will be held at 15 theaters nationwide for about a month from November to early December. Local cinema major Megabox will increase the price of cinema tickets on the 23rd by KRW 1,000 ($0.90), following the lead by CJ CGV a month ago. You can now also be fined if you do not wear a face covering in cinemas.

Poland – We note the passing of “the world’s biggest cinema fan” Maria Makowska-Kalinowska at the age of 75. Together with her late husband she had watched over 14,000 films in cinemas by 2015. Her husband Bogdan died in 2017. LINK

Thailand – A post-apocalyptic vision of cinema: “A barrel of monkeys invite a man and his piano into their unusual habitat: an old, abandoned cinema.” ? LINK

UK – Odeon Cinemas Group “calls in City crisis experts while US owner burns through $100m a month as it pursues new funding” LINK “Plans to build a multiplex cinema on a vacant site in Dundee city centre have been dropped – in light of the coronavirus pandemic,” but, “proposal for a four-screen cinema [by Savoy Cinemas Ltd in Gainsborough] and new shops that will create 25 jobs and pump £1.3m into a Lincolnshire town’s economy every year has been approved.”

USA – “The possibility of a COVID relief bill helping out U.S. cinemas appear to be dwindling as a ‘lame duck’ session of Congress on Thursday saw House and Senate leaders stick firm to their positions.” LINK A discussion is said to be raging inside Warner Bros. Entertainment about the fate of Wonder Woman 1984: stay put in Christmas release slot, move to 2021 or stream shortly after theatrical release on HBO Max in US.

Hong Kong outdoor cinema with fence distancing. (image: Yonhap news)

Friday 13 November 2020

India – “India’s second largest multiplex chain operator Inox Leisure Ltd on Friday said it has raised ?250 crore ($33.5m) by selling shares to institutional investors through a qualified institutional placement (QIP).” LINK Multiplexes in Pune opening 15 November.

Turkey “”The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the attitude of movie-goers in Turkey where cinemas are trying to survive the health crisis.” After reopening 1 July, cinemas must now close 22:00. “The decision is another blow to the ailing cinema industry which has seen activities drop by nearly 90 percent and is “bleeding,” industry experts told Xinhua.”” – LINK

USA – “Back-to-back slides on Tuesday and Wednesday find the stock of the country’s leading movie theater operator surrendering half of Monday’s gains. Just as we’ve seen this year, any catalyst that moves AMC higher seems to be quickly undone a few days later.” LINK “Tuscaloosa’s only multiplex, the Hollywood 16, will re-open Friday, after a short economics-related shutdown this fall, following the several-months-long closure driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.” LINK

Thursday 12 November 2020

Hungary – “New restrictive measures came into force on 11 November 2020 in Hungary. This is the second time in 2020 that the Hungarian film theatres had to close because of the pandemic.” (HT to Ray Gillon) LINK

South Korea – “As the latest Netflix original film, “Hillbilly Elegy,” has hit screens of South Korea’s two biggest multiplex chains of CJ CGV and Lotte Cinema, the yearslong conflict between major theaters and the global streaming giant has apparently come to an end amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” LINK

USA – “Regal Cinemas, will shutter the 18 locations the chain left open in New York and California, effective Thursday. Those sites will stay closed now with the rest of the U.S. chain until further notice. ” LINK

Wednesday 11 November 2020

China (Hong Kong SAR)

This outdoor cinema in Hong Kong has a novel solution for fencing off people and groups from each other at a social distance – by actually installing fencing. Genius! LINK

India – “Small percentage of Tamil Nadu [South India] theatres reopen after eight months.” LINK “While proposing around 1,500 per cent hike in charges for multiplexes, the BMC [Mumbai City authority] plans to increase theatre taxes, which are levied on cinema halls and theatres as well as circus and plays organised in both open and closed spaces.” LINK PVR and INOX are turning to private cinema rentals to attract audiences.

AMC is reopening several locations in Northern California
AMC is reopening several locations in Northern California

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Global – News of a 90% effective Covid-19 vacicne provided a major boost to cinema share prices.  AMC Theatres +62%; Cinemark Holdings +47%; National CineMedia (NCM) +39%. Meanwhile in UK Cineworld Cinemas Ltd shares were up 50%. LINK “”Pfizer said it is a game changer in terms of public health issues. And I think the vaccine is a game changer in terms of the movie industry. No one had a time frame before. The announcement puts bookends on in,” Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told The Hollywood Reporter.”

Germany – German cinema advertising major Weischer.Cinema acquires S&L Research, which has been supplying the cinema industry with data and research for the past 15 years. LINK

France – “We have no idea when we could reopen. But we suppose it will be even more difficult than the first time,” explains Sylvie Brisset, director of the CGR Odéon cinema in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. LINK

India – Bollywood films distributors are holding off major releases for the upcoming Diwali holiday, with local studios like YRF instead re-releasing classics.

Malaysia – The 4th International Malaysian Film Festival has been pushed back until next year due to Covid – tentatively 2 January. LINK

U.A.E. – “Cinépolis Cinemas, the largest movie exhibitor in Latin America and the third largest in the world, has announced its foray into the UAE market with the launch of its premium 10-screen multiplex at Oasis Mall in Sharjah.” LINK

USA – Cinema trade body NATO calls for a cinema bail-out in the interim period until President Biden is sworn in. LINK AMC Theatres is the latest to jump on the private screen rental bandwagon.

Monday 9 November 2020

Australia – Cinemas in the Australian state of Victoria can reopen this week, have been closed for the last seven months (since March!) for all but one week. Restrictions are in place, but will be gradually lifted. “We are open from Thursday with TenetBurnt Orange HeresyThe Translators and the British and Italian film festivals, and we are just delighted to be ramping up,” said Palace Cinemas chief executive Benjamin Zeccola. Village Entertainment chief Kirk Edwards said: “I am incredibly grateful to be able to welcome movie-lovers back to the cinema and bring our staff back to work. ” LINK

Baltic States – Cinemas are closing by order of local governments in Lithuania from 7 November until 29 November, and in Latvia from 9 November until 6 December. Closure of cinemas is currently not expected in Estonia at the moment, while in Finland it is decided on a municipal level. (Thank you Andac Bagioglu, Cinamon, for the heads-up.)

France – French films were doing very well at the BO, just as the second lockdown hit the cinemas. “What is infuriating !! And disheartening. The spectators were there despite the curfew. Over 3 million admissions! FAREWELL CONS and POLY, both released on October 21,” LINK Meanwhile “Sad scenery around the Kinepolis in Lomme. Usually crowded on weekends, the cinema multiplex offers a spectacle worthy of a post-apocalypse film.”

India – Inox Leisure Limited is doing private rentals of screens. Shortage of Bollywood and Hollywood content. LINK Cinema operators are hopeful that the upcoming Diwali festival will bring a boost in attendance. Two ew films scheduled to release.

San Marino – Fun fact: while cinemas are all closed in Italy, they are still open in the small Republic of San Marino. (Thank you Alice Tentori). LINK

USA – “AMC Entertainment Holdings’ executives are focused on raising enough capital to keep the struggling theatre chain afloat until summer, when they believe a Covid-19 vaccine and a backlog of blockbuster films will reverse its fortunes. The world’s largest cinema chain said on Nov 2 it has enough cash to last until early 2021, assuming attendance remains at its current, modest level. ” LINK

Saturday-Sunday 7-8 November 2020

Friday 6 November 2020

Australia – A floating cinema in Sydney. LINK

Bosnia & Herzegovina – “CineStar Sarajevo multiplex opened in the new Bingo City Center mall on 30 October 2020. CineStar’s sixth multiplex is also the biggest one in the country with 10 screens and a total seating capacity of 1414.” LINK

Canada – “Cineplex Inc. says it will not reopen some of its Ontario movie theatres after the province introduced new COVID-19 capacity restrictions.” LINK

China (PRC) – Cinema attendance is down in China as cinemas wait for the next local blockbuster as big a The Eight Hundred. “The single-day box office in the mainland market on November 4 was only 36.34 million yuan [$5.5m]. This is the second time the market has fallen below 40 million [$6m] since September 25 (the first time was on November 3). ” LINK

Germany – A good list of the ways you can support cinemas while they are closed.

India – “After being shut for around eight months owing to Covid-19, cinema halls, theatres, multiplexes and drama theatres are set to reopen in Maharashtra [Mumbai’s state] from today (November 5) as the state on Wednesday decided to allow them to restart operations at 50% occupancy.” LINK Shares in the two largest cinema operators PVR and INOX soar 9%. LINK  But cinemas in Mumbai will only open next Friday as they were not given enough time, nor will single-screen cinemas in Pune open. Private screenings are, however, popular.

Norway – 34 municipally owned cinemas have to re-pay NOK 34 million ($1.96m) in Covid-19 support that they were not entitled to. But the cinemas are opposing this demand. LINK Cinemas in Oslo closing from next Monday.

Poland – Cinemas, alongside museums and theatres, are closing from tomorrow Saturday in Poland until 29 November. LINK

South Korea – “Megabox JoongAng Co., the third-largest cinema chain in South Korea, has decided to forego plans to go public due to the global coronavirus crisis that has devastated the film industry.” LINK

Turkey – Cinema going is said to have dropped 90%. LINK

UK – “British film distributors scramble to salvage release plans, as cinemas in Scotland and elsewhere manage to stay open.” LINK Pre-packaged [cinema] foods, “one of cinema’s real treats is not coming back for a very long time, even when they reopen again.” LINK  Clevedon’s Curzon, the longest continually-operating cinema in Europe, has been forced to close – again. His cinema may be closed, but the manager of the Abbeygate Cinema in  Bury St Edmunds “is available for a chat on Monday afternoons to help alleviate loneliness,” on the phone.

USACinemark swung into a loss in Q3 as the Mark Zoradi now champions “the concept of “dynamic theatrical windows,” where tentpoles get longer movie theater runs than mid-range budget films.” LINK

Thursday 5 November 2020

Global – “2020 has been a year of turmoil. As major European markets re-close Gower Street asks is 2021 ready to take the strain of recovery?” LINK

Germany – “The signal could hardly have been clearer immediately before the lockdown: A huge increase in visitor numbers – mind you, without a new US blockbuster in the background – testified to how much Germans will miss the cinema in the coming weeks.” LINK  Small cinema operators expect closure to last until the end of the year. Bavarian cinema filed formal complaint with regional authority about the closure. German cinema award is moving from spring to autumn 2021.

The Netherlands – “Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced last Tuesday that the cinemas must close for two weeks. However, Pathé comes up with a solution. Although there was little really interesting in the cinema recently, it is difficult that we now suddenly have to do without.” Free streaming. LINK

North Korea (DPRK) – Smoking is banned in cinemas under strict new anti-smoking law, that also extends to other public establishments. LINK

Monday – 2 November 2020

Malaysia – “Malaysian cinema operators have closed their doors for at least a month, following escalation of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. The decision was a voluntary one announced by the Malaysian Association Of Film Exhibitors (MAFE).” LINK

Patrick von Sychowski
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