Movie theatres in Bonn Cinemas expect high losses even after opening

Bonn · Bonn's cinema operators expect high losses even after the opening of the movie theatres due to the strict regulations. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the cinemas will be unlikely to present new films in the first few weeks.

 The Woki expects to make a maximum of ten percent of normal sales in the first few weeks. Photo: Benjamin Westhoff

The Woki expects to make a maximum of ten percent of normal sales in the first few weeks. Photo: Benjamin Westhoff

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Bonn's cinema operators are sceptical about the imminent reopening of their cinemas from 30 May. Many fear a loss-making business in view of restrictive hygiene regulations and spacing rules, according to a survey by the GA. But to remain closed? That is not an option, if only because of the short-time work rules. And so companies find themselves in a quandary, caught between empty halls and corona restrictions. What remains is the hope that after weeks in front of their home TV sets, citizens will once again feel like watching the big screen - and remain loyal to the institution of cinema.

In any case, the Woki at Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz is ready to open its doors again and raise the curtains. "Exactly when this will be again depends, of course, on the specific requirements and conditions and our ability to implement them in the shortest possible time", reports authorised spokesperson Vincent Bresser. "Unfortunately, we continue to expect major losses even after the reopening. We assume that in the current situation we can only make a maximum of ten percent of our normal turnover, probably it will even be negative business".

Not more than one third of possible visitors admitted

The reason for this is that a maximum of one third of potential visitors may be allowed to enter the auditorium and fewer performances are possible overall, while at the same time the regular costs will continue, including rent payments that have so far been deferred. "Our biggest problem, however, will be that we will have hardly any new films in the first weeks to attract visitors to the cinema," Bresser continues.

"Cinema now functions very globally. As long as the cinemas in the USA or China, for example, are not all open, hardly any film distributor will bring a major film to the cinemas. You have to think of it like a restaurant that is allowed to open, but only has a few old cans with which it has to try to cook a meal for its guests". The woki definitely wants to come up with some creative solutions. Meanwhile, it is unclear what the big cinema chains Cinestar (runs the "Stern" on the market place) and Kinopolis are planning - an inquiry from the GA remained unanswered up to the editorial deadline.

Better timing desired

Meanwhile, the cinema in Wachtberg would have liked to have had a better time for a reopening. "We hope that one or two film distributors will now bring forward some of the start dates from autumn to June," explains Managing Director Rudi Knorr. "Then we would again have the chance to get visitors to the cinema." At the same time, he is also counting on the drive-in cinema in Rheinbach, which has a program running at least until May 27. "Depending on how it develops, we'll decide at short notice," he says.

Colleagues from Dottendorf have already moved on: while the film programme is not available until 21 May so far, comedy events are already planned until the end of June. As Andrea Schulte from the press office of the city of Bonn told the GA last Thursday, this is allowed. "A reduced showing in the cinemas due to hygiene regulations does not mean the end of the permit for the drive-in cinema“.

Visitor restrictions must first be scrapped

For this, the visitor restrictions must first be removed - an interpretation that Woki boss Bresser criticizes. "I'm not thrilled about an event agency unnecessarily competing with us and also playing the few available films ," he says. Drive-in cinema operator Sebastian Tünnerhoff naturally sees things differently. "We are happy that we can free ourselves and our cultural partners from the deadlock and offer artists a chance to perform again," he emphasises with regard to the cooperation with Springmaus, Pantheon and the Rex cinema.

The latter is therefore also holding back with regard to the reopening. "First of all, we need to know the specifications that are to be published in the course of this week," explains operator Dieter Hertel. Only then will they consider when the art house cinema next to Fiddler's in Endenich will be playing again. "It is clear that even then we will not be able to operate without losses from an economic point of view", says Hertel.

Original text: Thomas Kölsch.Translation: Mareike Graepel

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