Singapore

No crowds as cinemas reopen after nearly four months

Yesterday's reopening for cinemas, closed since March 27, was quiet for the most part, but operators expect an uptick in attendance in the coming weeks as bigger commercial releases open.

Operators told The Straits Times a low turnout is normal for weekdays, especially Mondays. New rules reducing the number of patrons to 50 for each screening also had an impact.

The closures, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, were lifted with new measures in place, such as the 50-person limit, a one-metre social distancing seating configuration, use of the SafeEntry check-in system and the wearing of masks at all times in the hall except when eating or drinking.

At Shaw Theatres Nex , broadcast media executive Thomas Chih, 42, came with a friend to catch the 9.50am screening of the biographical drama Escape To Pretoria. He said there were about 10 people at the screening.

Mr Chih said he had been wanting to watch the film, which stars Daniel Radcliffe, and chose a Monday morning, which is usually quiet.

A spokesman for Golden Village Multiplex, the largest cinema operator here with 13 outlets, said ticket sales, especially from its GV Movie Club members, have been "very positive".

"We have had customers snapping up tickets for the first day of reopening as early as July 3," she said. The strongest demand for reopening day tickets was for Japanese anime titles My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising and Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna.

Two fan screenings for the Digimon movie at GV Plaza - one yesterday and the other today - sold out in a few hours, so four more sessions were added, she said.

A spokesman for Shaw Theatres said audiences will "return cautiously to the cinemas" as confidence grows in safety practices and as studios release major films in the next two months, such as science-fiction thriller Tenet, the Disney period drama Mulan, superhero movie The New Mutants, and monster movie A Quiet Place II.

Cathay Cineplexes said patrons seemed to be taking the social distancing measures in their stride.

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