Cinemas In Malaysia Close Down Nationwide As Pandemic Bites
Oct 30, 2020

Cinema operators in Malaysia decided to temporarily suspend operations at all their cinemas across the country, according to a statement by the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) on October 30.

MAFE announced it is collectively suspending operations, but will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and react accordingly in case market conditions improve.

MAFE vice-president Cheah Chun Wai said the primary reason for the closures was the recent conditional movement control order implemented in several states in the country, as well as a lack of new movies being released in the short term, another industry disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The closures will begin in November when cinemas will be progressively suspending movie screenings.

Movie theaters suffer deep revenue losses during the pandemic

MAFE said the Malaysian cinema industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and has endured deep revenue losses due to a drop in admissions of up to 90 per cent year-on-year, while having to invest heavily in stringent standard operating procedures to ensure strong compliance and safety for customers.

MAFE explained that whilst the decision was not easy, it was in response to an increasingly challenging landscape for cinemas, and was necessary for the long-term preservation of Malaysian cinemas.

Cheah remarked that closing and reopening cinemas was extremely cumbersome, costly and disruptive not only for cinemas, but also for landlords and customers.

“To all patrons of cinemas in Malaysia, we would like to extend our gratitude for the unending support and solidarity thus far, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon, to once again share the magic of movies on the big screen,” he said.

MAFE noted that cinemas in Malaysia have appealed for government assistance and rental support for the distressed industry as they grapple to survive and recover from the global crisis, noting that the coming months would be critical to the continuance of the Malaysian cinema industry.

However, the association said the industry remains optimistic that post Covid-19, cinema attendance will rebound as moviegoing is expected to remain a top entertainment choice for Malaysians.