Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Challenging times for cinemas with all of Australia’s screens closed

Challenging times for cinemas with all of Australia’s screens closed
March 27, 2020

With the ban on mass gatherings to slow the spread of Coronavirus has led to the closure of all cinemas nationwide, cinemas operators are seeking relief from landlords amid fears that smaller, independent theatres may not survive.

Benjamin Zeccola, Chief Executive of Palace Cinemas, which has 17 sites across the country, said the company would soon need to borrow from the bank, leaving it saddled with an unhealthy amount of debt once it began trading again.

The company is not eligible for the Federal Government's business support payments, Zeccola said, because it had a turnover above $50 million.

Speaking to the ABC, he advised "I just don't see the need for there to be a cap. All businesses are struggling."

Advising that the company’s turnover did not represent liquidity, and that cinemas, which have high staffing and infrastructure costs, operated on "wafer-thin" margins, Zeccola stated “the other area that is the most frightening thing for many businesses right now is landlords.

"We are on pause. Everything is frozen. There are no customers. There is no income. There can be no rent for months. And I don't think that's sinking in. I think the Government has to step in to support employers."

In a statement to the ABC, Hoyts said it was too soon to know for certain what the impact on the industry would be.

Kristian Connelly, who runs Cinema Nova in Carlton in central Melbourne, said while there was uncertainty for the business and its 50 casual and permanent staff, the cinema was well-placed to survive the shutdown, largely because they were coming off a strong summer period.

He commented "I suspect that there will be a degree of rationalisation across the entire industry where we will see some closures.

"The smaller independents seem to be likely to be under greater pressure than some of the larger players."

With independents make up 31% of all cinemas, the largest share, according to Screen Australia data, and account for most of the regional venues.

Scott Seddon, President of Independent Cinemas Australia and the owner of two venues in the Hunter region in NSW, said he hoped no independent cinemas would close for good, but that it depended on measures like rent relief, Government assistance and forbearance from the banks.

Seddon told the ABC, “many independent cinemas were badly affected by the bushfires because their towns were closed.”

Cinemas would also need to make sure they could regularly fire up their projectors throughout the shutdown, he said, because older units particularly can degrade if they go several months without being turned on, potentially leading to a replacement bill in the tens of thousands of dollars.

It has already been a difficult decade for cinemas which, having survived threats from piracy have had to deal with the arrival of Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services made for a crowded screen entertainment market.

Box office sales were slightly down in 2019, according to a Screen Australia report.

Last year, before coronavirus emerged, some analysts were predicting minor growth in cinemas in the coming five years, while others saw a decline, with rising ticket prices failing to make up for a lack of innovation that would increase competitiveness.

Now, with film and television production having ceased around the world, some studios have started sending films that would otherwise have gone to cinemas straight to streaming services.

Screen Australia Chief Executive, Graeme Mason added “whilst Australians are still able to access their local shows on TV, streaming and online, the exhibition and distribution market is suffering badly right now.

"So, when cinemas open again, and they will, we will need to vote with our wallets and go support our exhibitors and filmmakers."

Related Articles

26th March 2020 - Gold Coast tourism leader says Coronavirus restrictions ‘death by a thousand cuts’

25th March 2020 - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces new measures aimed at slowing spread of Coronavirus

24th March 2020 - Up to 300,000 hospitality jobs set to be lost across Australia

23rd March 2020 - LPA seeks targeted financial stimulus for live performance industry

20th March 2020 - Palace Cinemas respond to COVID-19

20th March 2020 - LPA concerned over Government’s inaction in helping cultural sector survive Coronavirus crisis

20th March 2020 - Arts Ministers meeting fails to deliver support package as Australia faces ‘devastating cultural recession’

19th March 2020 - PAC Australia highlight Coronavirus threat to ongoing viability of performing arts centres

17th March 2020 - LPA calls for $850 million live performance support and stimulus package

16th March 2020 - Chief Medical Officer says going to cinemas and gyms is ‘low risk’ during Coronavirus outbreak

16th October 2019 - Event Cinemas launch new immersive experience for children

1st August 2019 - Immersive Experiences now available at Hoyts cinemas

12th June 2019 - Chinese cinema attendances to overtake USA as of 2020

31st July 2018 - Cinema audiences struggles as moviegoers turn to online content

13th June 2018 - Hoyts opens new generation cinema experience in Hunter Valley

5th February 2018 - eSports arenas to be launched in Hoyts cinemas

14th July 2017 - New App brings dynamic pricing to cinemas


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

SOLARWISE NSW DOLPHIN TECH

Solarwise NSW / Dolphin Tech were the first and are the largest Dolphin dealer in NSW with a full service facility and full range of spare parts "on the shelf". We also provide on site…

read more

Aquatics / Venues

 
 

Fun Wheels Pty Ltd

Fun Wheels Pty Ltd are the premium dealer in Australasia for the Dutch company BERG’s commercial and domestic products. Our flagship product is their revolutionary pedal go-kart – the…

read more

Attractions / Tourism / Venues

 
 

EventPro

At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

GLADSTONE MRM

Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues

 
 

SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

Altitude Training Systems

Also at 3 Squill Place, Arndell Park NSW 2148 ATS are global leaders in altitude training and research. From mask systems and inflatable tents to simulated altitude facilities, we help…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology

 
 
 

AAC ID SOLUTIONS

AAC ID Solutions is a leading supplier of identification access wristbands, barcoded wristband tickets, lanyards, membership products and RFID solutions for events and venues, working with thousands…

read more

Access / Marketing / Safety / Ticketing

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business