PETALING JAYA: Though the curtains have temporarily come down at all cinemas, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and TGV chains say the show must go on, as they look for other ways to earn an income from their halls.
GSC branding manager, Sharmine Ishak, said the company might open cafes at selected locations, and offer the use of cinema halls for live events.
“We have recently expanded into other lifestyle entertainment like stand-up comedies, and offer moviegoers opportunities to book our cinemas for events.
“We are also making our social and lobby areas a co-working space. Offline and online merchandising is another area we will be tapping into,” Sharmine told FMT.
TGV sales and marketing general manager Mohit Bhargava said the company had seen a sharp decline of 90% in moviegoers since lockdown restrictions began in March.
The chain had plans to generate cash through popcorn delivery and selling merchandise, gift cards as well as vouchers, he said. “It is difficult to predict at this point how long cinemas will remain closed, but we will monitor the situation and react when market conditions improve.”
The film exhibitors association recently announced that all cinemas will be closed from November, because of a partial lockdown in several states, where cinemas are required to close, along with a lack of new movie releases.
Although the federal government has allocated RM225 million for the creative industry under the economic recovery plan, no allocation was given for cinemas, said Sharmine.
He urged the government to come up with a cinema subsidy scheme, and to provide grants for the screening of films completed by local film producers.
He also called for more relaxed health SOPs. The current rules require moviegoers to sit one seat apart from one another.
Mohit said film exhibitors have agreed to have monthly meetings to assess the situation based on two factors: The release of new titles locally and in Hollywood, as well as the lifting of the conditional movement control order.
He said TGV remained optimistic about Hollywood blockbusters being released in 2021 or 2022. In the short term, most movie content would be from the local or Asian industry.
He also said markets in China and Japan had shown “promising signs” in recovery after the Covid-19 crisis, with box office numbers running stronger than in previous years.
Mohit also called for the authorities to reconsider the one-seat-apart rule in cinema halls, saying it was a “real hindrance” for groups, families and couples.