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The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

Half of Bangladesh movie theatres unlikely to reopen on Oct 16

| Updated: October 05, 2020 13:39:16


- UNB file photo used for representation - UNB file photo used for representation

Though the country's movie theatres are going to reopen on October 16 after almost six-month closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are fears that many of them will not be opened anymore.

Bangladesh has now approximately 194 movie theatres and cineplexes. There were about 1,200 theatres in the country during the period between 1990 and 2010.

Industry insiders said at least half of the movie theatres will not reopen on October 16 as many theatres already shut down, laid off staff and started reusing the sites for different purposes.

The movie theatres in the country could reopen at half audience capacity from October 16 if the trend in Covid-19 infections continues to decline, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said on September 21.

The minister made the remark at a press briefing after holding a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Chalachithra Prodorskah Samity at the meeting room of his ministry at the secretariat in Dhaka.

The movie theatres across the country were shut down on March 18.

According to Bangla-desh Film Producers-Distributors Association, a little more than 100 movie theatres were showing movies until closure of theatres for the pandemic.

Every week news about closure of a new movie theatre comes out, an official of the association said.

"So far I know at least 50 movie theatres shut their operation every year during the last 20 years," he added.

"The situation was not good even when there wasn't pandemic. Now even if we open, many theatres will not come forward," President of Bangladesh Film Producers-Distributors Association Khorshed Alam Khasru said.

He said the association wants to open movie theatres. The government announced resuming the show at association's request.

"But we don't get enough response from theatre owners," he said. Outside Dhaka, the scenario for this business has been horrific, even before the outbreak of Covid-19 in Bangladesh.

As the pandemic started impacting lives and livelihood all over the country, that became a nightmare for the industry.

After withdrawal of lockdown and other restrictions, the movie theatre owners and the entire film industry are hopeful again about resurgence as the government announced specific plans for the revival of movie business.

Maqbul A Hmed, an employee of Madhumita Theatre, told the FE on Friday that they are getting ready to reopen the theatre though he is not sure how long the theatre will remain open.

"There is uncertainty and fear. There is lack of new movie. We don't know how long we can continue," he added.

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