‘Devastating’ scenario for cinemas as layoffs foreseen in 90% of theatres

Catalan Cinema Guild warns the industry may only see a gradual recovery in June

Exterior of the iconic Cinemes Texas in Barcelona (by Pere Francesch)
Exterior of the iconic Cinemes Texas in Barcelona (by Pere Francesch) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 25, 2020 01:52 PM

Like everything else in the cultural sector, cinemas have been closed for days due to the coronavirus crisis and the state of alarm in the country. 

Raising the curtain will not be possible until at least June, when the Catalan Cinema Guild foresees a "gradual" recovery of audiences. 

To overcome this “devastating” scenario filled with “uncertainty”, Camilo Tarrazón, president of the Cinema Guild, explains to Catalan News that he believes 90% of cinemas will present temporary layoff plans to the government in order to "guarantee jobs."

Tarrazón says daily losses could be around €450,000, and he believes they will need "administrational support." The Catalan Cinema Guild claims that they prefer to be "cautious" and avoid speculating about “apocalyptic visions" during this situation where everything from the smallest independent cinemas to the large chains are suffering.

Given these figures, they call on support from the administration in line with what countries such as the United States have already announced. The cinema industry in Catalonia sees around 20 million viewers visit movie theatres each year.

"In Spain, the administration is neither there nor do we expect it to be. In Catalonia, they’ve offered a bit more care for the situation, but there is no answer, because they do not have the resources. In this scenario we will have to cover it alone," Tarrazón says.

Coexistence with streaming platforms

The guild president does not see the rise of digital streaming platforms as a threat, and claims that movie theaters currently "exist and will exist" in the future. 

"It used to be a predominant format, but it now shares prominence with others," he explains. In that sense, he criticized the problem as "not the public," but a system with "little support" from the administration and a "high tax burden."