Cinemas in Malaysia are all set to temporarily shut down progressively from November in view of the poor market conditions, dwindling box-office collections and mounting losses after they reopened post-lockdown. The Malaysian Association Of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) issued a press release today (30th October) to present the sordid story of the poor health of cinemas in the country. As in India, cinemas in some states in Malaysia are required to close down due to coronavirus cases. Besides, footfalls in the cinemas all over the country are low because of the safety factor as also due to lack of new film releases.
The MAFE has said that attendance in cinemas has dropped by 90% due to COVID-19. It adds, “While this decision (of closure) was not easy, it is in response to an increasingly challenged landscape for cinemas, and as an industry, we believe it to be a necessary step for the long-term preservation of Malaysian cinemas, so we can continue our role of contributing to the social, economic, and cultural fabric of our nation in the long run.”
Cinemas in Malaysia have appealed for government assistance and rental support for the distressed industry as it grapples to survive and recover from the worldwide crisis. The MAFE press statement strikes a depressing note when it explains, “If cinema businesses fail, it stands to destabilise the entire entertainment ecosystem. Cinemas will have to rely on the support and goodwill of the Malaysian government, landlords, film studios and the cinema-going public to pull through these difficult times. The coming months will be critical to the continuance of the Malaysian cinema industry.” It ends on a positive note when it mentions: “However, the industry remains optimistic that post COVID-19, cinema attendances will rebound, stronger than ever, as moviegoing will remain a top entertainment choice for Malaysians.”