Slovak Union of Film Distributors Sums Up COVID-19 Losses

    Scumbag by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann Scumbag by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann

    BRATISLAVA: The Slovak Union of Film Distributors has published an analysis quantifying the losses already suffered by the closure of cinemas due to the COVID-19 crisis, following an especially strong start of the year.

    The year 2020 began with strong predictions about the potential growth of revenues in Slovak cinemas. There were 1,428,840 viewers and 8,740,136 EUR in gross profit in the first two months of 2020, with three Slovak films claiming a 44% share of the box office. The Slovak/Czech coproduction Scumbag directed by Mariana Čengel Solčanská and Rudolf Biermann set an opening record with 98,056 admissions and 633,047 EUR gross in its first weekend in February.

    All cultural events in Slovakia were banned on 10 March, and all Slovak cinemas were forced to close.  

    The analysis by Tomáš Janísek from the Slovak Union of Film Distributors, which was posted on the Slovak portal Filmpress, showed a box office loss for the period of 10 – 26 March 2020 calculated at 1,735,326 EUR based on average traffic and revenue from 2019. Together with the revenues of cinema operators for renting premises, operating cafeterias and selling advertising, the total loss for this period was calculated at 4,660,652 EUR.

    In addition to these losses, distribution companies and cinema operators themselves have additional costs, which will be unbearable for some individual companies. In some cases, individual films might not receive any cinema release, resulting in a loss of projected income.

    The Slovak Union of Film Distributors has submitted two suggestions of support: first, a significant reduction or cancellation of VAT from tickets; and secondly, expanding support for the Slovak Audiovisual Fund from all films, not just Slovak titles. In 2019, the fund supported 25 cinemas with a total amount of 157,150 EUR through a programme focused on the support of 1 EUR for each admission to a Slovak film.