The renewed postponement of the James Bond film to spring 2021 is a heavy blow for the cinema operators – and the title “No Time To Die” may sound like a mockery to them. “This is a catastrophe for the cinema industry – we just got up and were hoping for a conciliatory end of the year,” said Hans-Joachim Flebbe, operator of a number of premium cinemas such as Berlin’s Zoopalast, in the podcast “Die Null” (listen directly here) .
“Basically we have nothing more to play this year, there are no more attractive films.” Blockbusters like “Wonder Woman 1984” had also been postponed until the end of December. Disney had shown the cartoon classic “Mulan” directly on its own streaming service Disney +, “with – fortunately for us – disastrous results,” said Flebbe, who founded the cinema chain Cinemaxx a good three decades ago.
For weeks Flebbe has been drumming for the industry, especially for changing the rules of distance (one meter), because they “fought like lions”. At 1.50 meters, a maximum utilization of 25 percent would have been possible, which is not worthwhile. At a distance of one meter, cinemas reach up to 60 percent. “Cinemas are a safe place,” said Flebbe. “There is no evidence of a hotspot in cinemas anywhere in the world. You just look ahead and don’t talk. The risk is lower than in restaurants or offices. “
“We will not survive without government aid”
“The worst-case scenario for our industry is when normal theatrical releases are no longer possible and the streaming services take over the business,” said Flebbe. You are currently living on KfW funds and short-time work benefits. The entrepreneur, who also runs the Zoo Palast in Berlin, criticized the federal government’s corona package. “That is the greatest disappointment for me.” Of the 25 billion euros, only 800 million euros were called. “My hair stands on end.” The package is too complicated and bureaucratic, the help does not arrive, the whole thing is more like “chicane”.
The cinema industry, which had sales of $ 43 billion worldwide in 2019, had blockbusters like “James Bond” firmly planned. Tim Richards, head of Vue Entertainment, which operates the Cinemaxx chain in Germany and took over the cinemas from Cinestar in the spring, described the postponement as a “body blow” for the industry, a heavy blow. Mooky Greidinger, head of Cineworld – the largest operator in the US alongside AMC and Cinemark – said cinemas now feel like a “grocery store without groceries”. Cineworld, the world’s second largest chain, is temporarily closing all of its 650 movie theaters in the United States, Great Britain and Ireland. That costs around 45,000 employees the jobs.
“We will not survive without government aid,” said Flebbe, whose cinemas are currently losing around 600,000 euros per month, a total of 4.2 million euros.
Hear in the new episode of “The Zero Hour”,
- what forecasts Hans-Joachim Flebbe gives for the German cinema market,
- why private presentations could be a premium product of the future,
- why you can get fed up with streaming services.
All episodes directly at Audio Now, Apple or Spotify or via Google.