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Inside a cinema complex in Slovenia
Inside a cinema complex in Slovenia

No crisis has ever hit the entire film industry as badly as the coronavirus lockdown. With sets empty, movie premieres postponed, screenings canceled and box offices closed, the global film industry has been largely frozen in time — and revenue. Even as activity is gradually resuming, it will take time for the movie business to recover and when it does, the cinema landscape may never be quite the same – either on set or on screens.

The Cannes Film Festival unveiled its 56 Official Selection titles by live stream Wednesday evening in Paris, two weeks after the 2020 Cannes edition was originally due to run on its iconic red carpet. Despite the lack of physical event and the delay, the Festival's chief Thierry Frémaux told Le Monde that COVID-19 couldn't be allowed to destroy the event completely. "If the Festival couldn't take its usual form, we needed to present it another way — but never would it disappear."

Only 20% of the cinema can be used at a time, which is far from profitable.

Meanwhile in India, the country's signature musical-and-drama driven film industry has also been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. According to the country's top producers, distributors and actors, Bollywood will take at least two years to recover financially from the coronavirus pandemic, which is threatening big-ticket projects and putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

That's why some Bollywood background dancers – an indispensable part of Hindi films – have urged the film fraternity to help them in these difficult times, reported the daily Hindustan Times.

A video featuring some of them holding placards, emphasizing that they ‘work on a per day income basis' and some have to support entire families, has gone viral.

No festival but drive-in cinemas in Cannes — Photo: L.Urman/Starface/ZUMA

On the smaller art-house cinema circuit, there's a different calculation, post-coronavirus. In Hamburg, as reported in Die Welt, movie theaters that have been closed since mid-March are now beginning to reopen under strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. With the regulation to keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters, only 20% of the cinema can be used at a time, which is far from profitable.

Opening overnight does not make any sense since there are no new attractive films nor commercials for refinancing, points out Felix Grassmann, who runs the Abaton arthouse cinema.

Although a few movie theaters found a way to keep their audiences happy by setting up drive-in cinemas, operators agree that these are not a real alternative to the cinema halls. says Hans-Peter Jansen, who runs four cinemas in Hamburg. "It is an interim solution. You can't watch films properly in the car, the sound is bad and you can't see anything when it rains." Although economically, the operators of art house cinemas can write off the year 2020, they are optimistic about the future. After all, happy-ends usually prevail in the cinema.

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