Cinemas lost N8bn to closure for 6 months –Board

The Nigerian movie industry has lost about N6bn in box office revenue and N2bn in ancillary services, like sale of drinks and popcorn, since the closure of cinemas nationwide in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Executive Director, National Film and Video Censors Board, Mr Thomas Adedayo, revealed this during a chat with our correspondent on Sunday.

Adedayo said he based the figure on the projection for the year 2020.

He added that equipment worth about N20bn in 60 cinemas across the country had been abandoned.

Adedayo said, “As regards box office, which is the sale of tickets, N6bn has been lost. But if you add other services like sale of popcorn, drinks and other items, the figure is about N8bn.

“Also, about N20bn equipment is rotting away. No equipment has been turned on since March. Currently, we have 60 cinemas across the country.”

The NFVCB boss said South Africa, which had a higher COVID-19 burden, re-opened its cinemas on Friday, adding that it was time for Nigeria to follow suit.

“South Africa re-opened on Friday. Our agency has the competence to supervise and enforce COVID-19 guidelines in all the cinemas,” he stated.

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Adedayo said he had received letters and appeals from cinema owners, which had been forwarded to the appropriate authorities.

He stated, “Even if the cinemas are re-opened today, they will not be able to run optimally. They will have to re-engineer their equipment which has not been used at all in almost six months.

“Other countries use drive-in cinemas during the pandemic but we don’t use drive-in cinemas in Nigeria because there is hardly space. Drive-in cinemas need space for your cars and we have not really tapped into that.”

Cinemas nationwide had in 2019 generated N6.7bn from ticket sales alone.

Adedayo, however, said it was projected that 2020 would bring higher revenue because more cinemas had been built, while other measures had been put in place to boost revenues of film houses.

The NFVCB is the Federal Government agency tasked with the responsibility of classifying, censoring and registering movies.

Lagos State, which is the commercial and entertainment capital of the country, had last week said it would ensure that cinemas were reopened soon. Punch


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