Seeking screen time: Impacts of Covid-19 pandemic still being felt at movie theatres

A New Zealand cinema chain says the industry is yet to recover to pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels, with not enough consistent revenue coming through its doors.

Premium cinema chain Silky Otter has five cinemas in the North and South Islands, and said the market was about 25 percent below what it was in 2019.

Chief executive Neil Lambert said Covid, Hollywood strikes and a slowing economy disrupted the sector, and it was still trying to rebound.

He said there was light at the end of the tunnel, but saw ongoing short-term challenges.

“As across all businesses and I heard it from someone the other day that said ‘survive to 2025’ … that’s where we’re at as an industry as well.

“There’s a great slate of films coming at the end of the year. There have been some good films this year, don’t get me wrong, but there have been some gaps in the market, we haven’t got the consistency of films.”

Lambert said rising costs, such as wages and rents, did not help the industry either.

“You can put the maths together; little content, higher costs in a business and interest rates, and it’s a struggle.”

Despite the industry struggles, Silky Otter planned to open more cinemas, with three more on the cards by the end of the year.

They appeared confident about the future of the cinema industry, though with the benefit of hindsight, accepted the company could have grown differently.

Lambert said when they started the business they wanted to open many locations across the country and offer consumers “an amazing experience”, competing with streaming giants and food delivery services such as Uber Eats.

Many of the deals to open cinemas were struck in about 2018 and 2019.

“Had we had potentially known what lay ahead, maybe we wouldn’t have been so boisterous and moved so fast. And the back end of it has been a slog, I’m not going to lie,” Lambert said.

He said its existing cinemas were “well received” by the communities they were in.

Silky Otter planned to open in Auckland’s Takanini in June, Queenstown in October and Christchurch’s Sumner by around Christmas this year.

“A lot of that ability for us to open though has really been down to generous landlords and help that we’ve got along the way.

“People knowing that cinema will be around for a long time.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button