Popcorn won’t pay the rent. Cinemas are in big trouble

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By Massimo Usai

It is a chilly Saturday night in central Brussels, and the cafes and restaurants are closed.

The Coronavirus has hit hard the Belgium Capital, and all the Country is in massive lockdown.

Last evening was everything open I pass by in front of the Cinema in a very cool area of the town.

The staff at the Cinema was closing up for what feels like the last time. Wasn’t too many hopes in their faces. 

Few days before they all received the news, that in Countries like England the big chains of the Country will temporally close all of the cinemas in the UK and Ireland. 

The decision was prompted by the news that the James Bond film No Time to Die was being postponed for a second time, from November 2020 to April 2021.

As soon as Bond was moved, everyone knew it was over, for this year.

Cinema spends showing the same films every day all summer. 

The people were already scared to go to the Cinema after last spring pandemic.

To be in a packed room, and to see a poor selection of the previous year movie, keep people more away from the Cinemas. 

Popcorn won’t pay the rent, and they need people in significant numbers back to the Cinemas to survive.

Anyway, it isn’t easy to see again (for years, at least) queueing to watch a movie in some big franchising chain.

Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the cinema industry finds itself gasping for air. 

Admissions to cinemas this year are on course to hit their lowest levels since records began in 1928. 

Also isn’t just a problem for the major chains of the industry. Still, even so, many independent cinemas are either fighting for their survival.

Some independent Cinemas are doing better than others – some have closed forever. 

The new Christopher Nolan movie, Tenet, was the hope but things didn’t go on the plan.

Also think that a single film could save cinemas, was very naive. Anyway, everyone hopes that the people were back to the Cinema, the big companies would give movie studios the confidence to provide cinemas with a consistent supply of films. 

The disappointment came fast and when Tenet, despite so much anticipation performed poorly was clear that something was lost forever.

I do not believe it’s going to be possible to have a global release date for quite some time, and this is mean the industry needs to explore different markets and solution to try to still alive.

 In the last few weeks, we have seen so many big movies comes out directly on Netflix or Amazon. 

Borat” and “The Trial of the Chicago Seven” Currently, roughly 75 to 80 per cent of screens in the world are open.

Screens may be open, for now, but that doesn’t mean they have anything to show.

In this uncontrollable situation, independent cinemas are in a relatively strong position. 

They don’t need to rely upon blockbuster. 

Instead, they always try to show classic in a new format and some indie movie that attract people happy to pay a more expensive ticket to have small rooms with good seats.

Also, it’s the kind of customers that loves friendly bar with expensive wine at the entrance and the best video and audio quality available in the world.

For years I watched my movie at the Curzon in London, where tickets are more expensive than at the Odeon or Cineworld.

Still, the quality of the service and the selection of the movie it’s second to none. 

Anyway, no one could deny that is that this crisis is the apex of a long-running problem.

Big chains live just on big blockbusters, and that’s not good for any business because if for some reason that fails, then we’re all in trouble.

After all, both cinemas and audiences feel that that’s the only thing on offer and it isn’t.

So at the moment Cinema are really in crisis but what if this situation will be the opportunity to restart a new model of Cinema? 

The Pandemic is probably going to kill the Cinema we know, it’s true, but the audience was already low.

So many people prefer to see a movie in one of the new spectacular 50″ television with friends at home that been in some ample cold space with next to people eating popcorns or open a bag of chips.

I think the pandemic has provided the base to the distributors with something new to looking forward. A clear opportunity to showcase films that would usually struggle for space in the Cinemas. Pre-Covid time.

So we are in the middle of a revolution in the Cinema industry, and many different opportunity and new solutions are there to be taken if everybody will play the right cards.

So many big movies as been postponed because the lockdown but this is mean that as soon everything will be back, so many big titles will be available in a flow.

It will be the moment to see if the Cinema Industry has learned something in these months. 

In my opinion, there are big chances the future of this industry will be healthy again.

Probably there’s going to be a massive boom when Cinemas will re-open.

As a good screenplay, we will see so many hopes and disappointments and only time will tell us if there’s going to be a happy ending or not.

Because, in my opinion, watching a film on the TV 55″ with 4K system is Ok, but nothing like seeing it on the big screen with a responsive audience.

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