Cinema losing ‘significant amount’ during closure

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No movies...Movie Max Digital owner Brent Birchfield is urging the public to be patient. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

The owner of Timaru’s Movie Max Digital cinema says he is losing a “substantial amount” of money by remaining closed during the Covid-19 crisis.

“But we’re confident we will make a comeback,” Brent Birchfield said.

“When we’ve got strong product we’ll make a move.”

The pandemic had brought the entire movie industry to a grinding halt and films were not available for distribution.

Under Level 2 no more than 100 patrons were allowed in a cinema at one time and for no longer than two hours.

However, there were logistical problems in making this achievable as the Movie Max complex contained six theatres.

Just when Movie Max Digital could reopen was the “$64,000 question”, Mr Birchfield said.

“I could say it would be six to eight weeks – it could be sooner or later but there are too many variables.”

The pandemic had resulted in big operators such as Hoyts reappraising their future, he said.

Pirating was also a serious issue which damaged the industry and people were asking if online was the new way.