20-11-2020

Slovak Cinemas Reopen At Half Capacity

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BRATISLAVA: Slovakia allowed the reopening of cinemas at half-capacity as of 16 November 2020. However, the Cinema Operators Association and the Slovak Union of Film Distributors point out that the reopening of cinemas in this situation may financially damage many private cinema operators.

„According to the feedback I have received from cinema operators so far, only about 10 single-screen cinemas are considering re-opening now,“ Nataša Simonková from the Cinema Operators Association told FNE.

Slovak cinema operators and distributors said in a joint statement: „As the lock-down of the country had been discussed a few days before this decision, we were surprised by the change in the situation and we are afraid that it also indicates ignorance of the functioning of the film industry. In other circumstances, we would be happy to reopen; but as the trend is opposite and cinemas are gradually closing in other countries, the worldwide dates of distribution premieres are shifting. Currently, distribution companies can only offer repeat screenings of films, but it is the new premieres that are key to attracting audiences back to the cinema.„

The statement continued: „The combination of the ban on the sale of refreshments and the lack of strong premiere titles could be destructive for many cinemas, especially those which are not supported by the municipality or the state institutions. After the spring pandemic wave, it took us several months to return at least to a somewhat normal, financially remunerative mode of operation. In order for the cinemas to open responsibly, it is essential for us to rely on a clear positive development forecast, so that we are not in danger of closing cinemas after a few weeks.“

Representatives of both associations were received during the week at the Ministry of Culture, where they discussed with Minister Natália Milanová the possibilities of overcoming this difficult period in which they currently find themselves.

Cinemas were closed in Slovakia on 15 October 2020 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.