The President of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG), James Aboagye has posited that reopening the cinemas will not be of any help to film makers and cinema operators.
James Aboagye in explaining his position noted that reopening the cinemas to observe social distancing will cause the filmmakers and cinema operators huge financial losses. According to him, when they were admitting the full number of people to the cinema, they were not gaining much returns. Therefore, pushing for the reopening of the cinema will cause them more harm than good.
“We have done our calculations and realized that reopening of the cinema to observe the covid-19 protocol will not help. The reason is, in Ghana, we don’t have any theatre that has more than 500 capacity at a time. So, if we are to observe these protocols within the cinema hall, it means that at best, we will have 250 audiences at a time. The proportion of sharing the revenue is such that, the operators of the cinema would take between 40 and 50 percent, and the producer will take the rest. Already, with the full capacity, we were not making much out of it. So, if we push for it and we operate at half capacity, I don’t think it’s going to help us”.
James opines the cinema is a fertile ground for the spread of covid
Giving more reasons as to why the cinemas should still remain closed, he averred that looking at the structure of the cinema, they are no windows for ventilation and there is only one gate for entry and exit, therefore, “it’s a fertile ground for transmission of COVID-19 from persons to persons”.
James Aboagye noted that people will find his submissions “absurd”. However, in his defense, he doesn’t want anyone to be making losses after putting;in so much effort and resources to produce a movie.
“We want to show our movies and make returns on the investment. But if we go and make loses then what will be the use of operating the cinemas”.
He further mentioned that if the government will allow the cinemas to;observe all other protocols apart from social distancing, then the cinemas can operate. However, if that can’t hold, then the cinemas should remain closed.
When asked if he has produced any movie that is yet to be previewed, he said “yes”. When asked again if he will preview his movies at the cinema incase the President;opens the cinema but also cautions that they observe the social;distancing, he answered saying “I won’t do that and I won’t advise anyone to do that”.
He also disclosed that FIPAG is currently discussing;with stakeholders to see the way forward and find solutions to their problem.
Kofi Asamoah disagrees with James
However, Ghanaian movie producer and writer, Kofi Asamoah, who;was in total disagreement with James Aboagye’s submission noted that the capacity of the;cinemas shouldn’t be the main reason why they are pushing for the cinemas to remain closed.
He was of the view that there should be measures put in place by the cinema operators that will ensure that they realize the expected returns.
“The movie operators should increase showtime. If initially you were doing six shows within a day, now that you might be showing at half capacity, you will have to do more screening time… Because like the President said ‘we are not in normal times’. Therefore, you need to devise ways to adjust to these times”.
Kofi Asamoah also emphasized that it isn’t only about the opening of the cinemas that FIPAG should be looking at but also the ban on movie screening.