ZAGREB: The Croatian box office fell by 83% in the weekend of 13-15 March 2020. Only two Hollywood films, Bloodshot by David S. F. Wilson and My Spy by Peter Segal, managed to attract more than 1,000 spectators nation-wide. As of 19 March 2020 public gatherings are officially banned in Croatia and all cinemas are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before the total ban, recommendations to restrict the number of spectators to 100 per venue and to keep a minimum distance of two seats between spectators heavily affected both mainstream and independent distribution.
According to the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the total Croatian box office reached only 35,316 EUR in 13-15 March 2020, in comparison to 295,035 EUR four weeks ago.
“There is a lot of concern and uncertainty, as we can’t estimate how long the cinemas will remain closed. Most of the films in our catalogue are on the waiting list until further notice. We decided to release Bloodshot on 12 March 2020, against all economic reasoning, to offer at least something new to the declining audience”, a Continental film representative told FNE.
Exhibitors united in the Croatian Independent Cinemas Network are concerned for workplaces of their 154 employees and 105 associates in 65 cinemas, as they estimate their total losses between 124,889 and 144,626 EUR per month during the closure.
With smaller cinemas gradually closing over the last few weeks, the biggest national exhibitor Blitz Cinestar remained the only chain operating until the formal ban.
“At this moment, protecting the workplaces of our employees is our biggest priority”, a member of the Board and CEO of Cinestar Jadranka Islamović told FNE.