Cinemas suffer huge losses, experts say

The movie business was again hit by the introduced restrictions. The owners of cinemas in Nur-Sultan sound the alarm, suffering enormous losses. The number of visits to cinemas has already decreased by more than two times over the past year. Now the entrepreneurs are banned from working at all, despite the fact that they observed all the rules. The workers were vaccinated, the halls were disinfected, everybody maintained distance and wore masks, even the Ashyq app was introduced everywhere.

“Of course, business is suffering. We have a huge number of employees, they are young people who need jobs, we need to support them regardless of cinemas being open or closed. All this directly affects our relations with creditors, the people who own shopping malls. The most unpleasant thing in this situation is the subjectivity of the approach, the unevenness in decision-making, which are taken in different cities in different way,” complained Dmitry Kirienko, Commercial Director of a cinema theatre.

Cinemas in Nur-Sultan are closed for the third time, said Dmitry Kirienko. They are still working in the city of Almaty. The business simply does not have time to recover due to constant restrictions, he said in an interview. Film distributors do not want to launch large-scale movies because of low number of views, reserving them for better times. The Center for Support of Cinema is confident that if entrepreneurs are not allowed to work today, tomorrow they may close for good.

“If the government is unable to take any measures to provide support to cinemas by the end of the year, the industry will not be able to reach 2018 and 2019 levels at least until 2025. Assistance is absolutely necessary, such help was carried out according to the experience of our closest neighbors. The basis of any film industry is the cinema, where the main monetization of all film production takes place by independent production companies, including the government,” said Baurzhan Shukenov, Deputy Chairperson of the State Center for Support of National Cinema.

Meanwhile, ticket sales are still falling. As a result of the first half of the year, cinemas did not manage to raise money they were able to earn in two months in pre-pandemic times. Earlier, in Kazakhstan, about 10 billion tenge were allocated for the production of new films, which also may not pay off.

“These films will soon be released and we still cannot understand where we will screen them. The situation at cinemas is really difficult. The number of visits did not reach 15 percent for the first half of the year, although the planned attendance rate should be 25 percent. Judge for yourselves,”  Shukenov added.

To date, less than 100 cinemas have not yet been closed in Kazakhstan. They are asking the authorities for the support. Entrepreneurs in the capital suffered the most. The Chief Sanitary Doctor of Nur-Sultan is adamant. There can be no question of opening cinemas.


Translation by Saniya Sakenova

Editing by Galiya Khassenkhanova