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News Article

No Popcorns or Soda Allowed: Cinema New Normal

By Andrea Villar | Mon, 08/03/2020 - 08:47

Going to the cinema is an experience in itself. From the moment people arrive at the venue and smell the freshly made popcorn, buy their tickets, then their treats and drinks, until they enter the cinema room, disconnect from the outside world and enjoy the movie. However, amid the new normal, this experience will not be the same.

Yesterday, the Government of Mexico City published the guidelines that cinemas must follow to be able to resume their activities. Venues will not be able to sell food nor allow it access to the theater. “Sales of sweets and foods will be suspended, as well as the use of sauce dispensers and other articles that are of common use. The consumption of food inside the theater and during the screening is forbidden,” stated the government.

But this measure, although in line with sanitary measures, is not feasible, since candy store services are a source of income that helps cinema chains to cover operating costs, in addition to being a source of employment within their sector, sources close to the National Chamber of the Film Industry (CANACINE) told El Financiero. “With these types of measures, they (cinemas) are already thinking of firing employees. During the five months that they have been closed, they have kept the 40,000 employees working on movie exhibition and they already have debt like many other sectors,” said the source.

Among other guidelines, no more than two people can sit together in adjoining seats and movie theaters may operate at a 30 percent capacity. In addition, they must communicate users that it is preferable to purchase tickets on digital platforms using contactless payments. 

For months now, Cinépolis and Cinemex, the most popular cinema chains in Mexico, have presented their safety and hygiene protocols, which include the mandatory use of facemasks for employees, antibacterial gel available for guests and open doors for air circulation during movie shows.

To highlight the impact on the film industry, CANACINE made an analysis comparing five-year ticket sales through early July and it found that 100 million tickets were no longer sold due to the suspension of activities in theaters in Mexico since March. The general director of the organization Tábata Vilar Villa warned that if the industry is not reactivated, it could represent a loss of up to MX$4 billion (US$179 million).

Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst