It’s been two days since cinemas around Metro Manila officially reopened which is a welcome move not because I personally want to watch movies on the big screen inside the theater but because the local cinema industry will contribute to the economic recovery of our nation from this ongoing COVID-19 crisis. That being said, I urge you readers – who got fully vaccinated locally – who love watching movies to take time out to support the local cinema operators and their employees by visiting their venues, buying tickets over the counter and watch movies on the big screen while following the local health protocols (note: local cinemas have invested a lot in making their venues safe and sanitized).
Be reminded that streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming. Movie venue choices aside, local moviegoers now have the opportunities to watch A Quiet Place Part II and the big blockbuster Dune (2021).
Going back to the topic of economic recovery, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 crisis combined with all the restrictions imposed by the local, regional and nation authorities brought down the national economy in 2020 along with all the economic sectors and the employees. All of these also translate into a major loss of tax revenue for the local governments, provincial governments and the national government.
In the case of the local cinema industry, the shutdown of cinemas since the pandemic started in March 2020 resulted a huge, collective industry loss of revenue according to a BusinessWorld report. I’m talking about many BILLIONS of Pesos lost!
To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt of the BusinessWorld report. Some parts in boldface…
The cinema industry had P19 billion in foregone revenue from March 2020 to September this year, Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairperson Mary Liza Diño-Seguerra said in a Teams video interview.
The loss had ballooned to P21 billion as of Oct. 11, Charmaine N. Bauzon, president of Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines, told PTV News.
Local government units, which charge 10% amusement tax per movie ticket, lost P1.09 million daily from the country’s more than a thousand movie screens, according to estimates by the National Tax Research Center.
“We earned P11.5 billion yearly from the box office [before the pandemic],” Ms. Seguerra said. “We sold about 52 million tickets each year.”
Cinema operators get 50% of ticket sales, while the other half goes to producers, who then give as much as a quarter to the distributor, who’s in charge of marketing and distributing the film to the public.
Last year, cinemas in areas under a more relaxed quarantine made a measly P327,000, Ms. Seguerra said.
Take note that before the pandemic started, the local cinema industry as a whole had a work force of 300,000 employees and those who lost their jobs and income really suffered. In the City of San Juan, the Manila Bulletin reported about the reopening of local cinemas there with Mayor Francis Zamora issuing statements and leading the inspection on the venues. Posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin article.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora led the inspection of cinemas in the city starting with the Greenhills Promenade Cinema.
Zamora inspected the health and safety protocols of the cinema such as the disinfection process of the establishment and the procedure of buying the tickets, which can be done before entry to the cinema or online, new seating arrangements with strict physical distancing, and the guidelines of actual movie viewing under the new normal.
“I know how Filipinos miss watching movies in silver screens which have been shut down for almost two years due to the pandemic, but now the long wait is over. With the approval of the IATF, we are allowing the opening of our cinemas in the city, provided that we take extra care and observe stringent protocols as we are still facing threats of COVID-19 despite the easing of restrictions to Alert Level 2,” Zamora said.
“I want to personally make sure that our cinemas in San Juan will be safe for all of us, not only for the moviegoers but for the employees of these establishments as well,” he added.
During Alert Level 2, the operational capacity of several businesses has been increased to accommodate more customers. It has also eased down quarantine restrictions in various indoor establishments and recreational venues including movie houses and cinemas.
Under the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines, cinemas can accommodate up to 50 percent of its maximum venue capacity, but only those who are fully vaccinated will be allowed entry into the cinemas.
For added insight, posted below are two news videos for your viewing…
Going back to choices of movies, be aware that opening soon locally in cinemas are Black Widow (November 17) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (November 24). For those who prefer Philippine movies, the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) will return to cinemas next month!
Once I again, I urge you readers based in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces who got fully vaccinated to come out to support our local cinema operators and make a contribution to economic recovery as you enjoy watching on the big screen again.
Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Now that cinemas within Metro Manila have reopened, are you planning to revisit them and watch movies on the big screens anytime soon? Does Dune (2021) interest you a lot? When was the last time you saw a movie inside the movie theater? Do you realize that as a paying customer, what you pay helps not only movie producers and cinema operators but also their employees and the varied government units (that collect amusement taxes)?
You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.
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