Kyiv local authorities have lifted the ban on operations of cinema houses, but the latter is still closed since they’re going to open in early July.
This week, the capital's authorities have taken another step forward to the quarantine relaxation when they have allowed having visitors in the restaurants, cafes, and cinemas. The latter has been standing idle for the last 3.5 months already and suffers multi-million losses. Dmytro Derkach, the co-owner of the Cinema Planet theater chain, says that the amount of damage the company reaches 10 million hryvnias per month in the period of downtime, and the foregone revenues are 500 million hryvnias.
Multiplex, the largest Ukrainian theater chain, declares a larger sum. Roman Romanchuk, the CEO of Multiplex, estimates that the company has lost 300,000–400,000 hryvnias per day in the period of downtime.
Both theater chains are going to open their audience halls on 2 July in the cities where the local authorities will lift the ban. At the same time, there is nothing to report the pre-crisis growth. According to Taisia Lytovchenko, the CEO of the consulting firm Retail & Development Advisors, the cinemas cannot count on the pre-crisis enrolment because of several quarantine restrictions.
“First, the terms of the cinemas’ work until the end of coronavirus pandemic are still unclear. The number of visitors might be limited to 30% or 50%, but even such an enrollment will be a huge success. Trouble is, many Ukrainians suffer from a fear of infection in places where large numbers of people gather; that’s why they might postpone the movie theater attendance for better times,” Lytovchenko thinks.
At the same time, Roman Romanchuk assures that cinemas are less dangerous than malls, subways, and restaurants through the more efficient airflow and cooling. Besides, the number of visitors will be reduced, and the operators will follow anti-epidemic rules, including a mask regime for staff and the surface treatment after every picture show.
The content issue might become another problem since many world premieres have been postponed to a later date because of the coronavirus pandemic. “There will be some difficulties with the movies, as the production companies rescheduled anticipated movies for fall and winter. However, we’ll have some interesting premieres, Ukrainian, and old popular movies,” Derkach says.
He expects that the chain will work with great restraint, and the enrolment will be low in the first months of work. The founder of Cinema Planet looks forward to working at full power in October–December. Nevertheless, this will be only possible if the cinemas don’t be closed because of a worsened epidemiological situation.