Polish Cinemas Allowed To Re-Open

    Polish Cinemas Allowed To Re-Open photo: Cinema City / Arkadia

    WARSAW: Cinemas in Poland will be allowed to operate from 12 February 2021 on a two-week conditional basis, with a limit of 50% capacity. Major cinema chain Helios has already decided not to open under these conditions, Multikino and Cinema City are waiting to decide on a course of action.

    The director of the Polish Film Institute, Radosław Śmigulski, is preparing support for domestic producers and distributors who are premiering their films during the pandemic.

    Small cinemas are the most likely to re-open. "A total of 192 of our cinemas will start. We are using the aid system of the Polish Film Institute, so we are obliged to open them," said Marlena Gabryszewska, head of the Studio Cinemas Network, adding that this is a good time for them, with bad weather, Valentine's weekend and no competition from pubs and restaurants.

    Tomasz Jagiełło, President of the Helios chain (owned by Agora), has announced that its cinemas will not open. "Restarting 50 cinemas across Poland under a strict sanitary regime is a logistically difficult and costly operation; it cannot be carried out, as the Prime Minister said, conditionally for two weeks," said Jagiełło. "This is an absurd proposal, the costs of which may not be borne by cinema operators. The opening of cinemas requires, first of all, preparation of the repertoire and talks with film distributors, and then promotion of the titles introduced to the screens, which requires a minimum of about four weeks,"

    Multikino has issued a statement saying that the company will decide after it familiarises itself with all terms and conditions of the trial opening period. "Unlike other industries, the cinema does not have goods in stock and cannot start selling immediately after the opening announcement. We rely on distributors, who are responsible for the marketing entrusted to them by film producers.(...) Distributors usually need a minimum of 4-6 weeks to prepare a film for distribution," the company said in a statement. Multikino owns 33 cinemas in 27 cities with a total of 267 screens.

    Cinema City, which owns 35 cinemas in Poland, will also wait for the publication of the government regulation. "The possibility of a safe and rational opening of our facilities requires a very careful study of the new regulations and guidelines. This is a process that requires, first and foremost, the safety of viewers and employees, but also the provision of an appropriate film repertoire," said the Cinema City statement.

    Cinemas in Poland have been closed since 7 November 2020.