Abeiku Seigo thanks Akufo-Addo for entertainment bailout but….
Actor Abeiku Seigo has called for the reopening of cinemas and theatres since other productive sectors of the economy have been directed to resume full operation.
He said the government’s effort to support the entertainment industry would not yield much fruit if cinemas remained closed as part of coronavirus safety measures.
In his latest address to the nation, President Akuffo-Addo announced that churches, commercial transport and open-air bars could resume full operations.
“…from 1st August 2020, the restrictions on the number of congregants worshipping at a time in Church will be lifted, with the length of worship extended from one (1) to two (2) hours per service… open-air drinking spots can now function” the president said.
The directive, according to the veteran actor should have included cinemas and theatres.
“Churches can now go for more than two hours and long-haul buses can now take full passengers and then we are told cinemas and theatres shouldn’t work, how?” he questioned.
Arguing for the reopening of cinemas and theatres, the actor likened the atmosphere at the cinemas to that of the buses.
Expressing his appreciation for the GHC50million allocation to the creative arts industry, Mr. Seigo said producers need platforms to project their movies.
“We want to express our appreciation for the ¢50 million but if producers should get the money how will they make business with them?
Movies go online in coronavirus era
With millions stuck indoors and cinemas closed, film studios are rethinking the way they launch new releases.
The BBC has reported that during the peak of the outbreak in China one major movie went straight to an online platform and was seen by more than half a billion viewers.
US film studios are following suit, and are already launching movies online before their planned cinema releases.
The industry is facing losses of up to $15bn (£13bn) this year due to the pandemic, according to one expert.
The US and China are the world’s biggest movie-watching markets, based on box office sales. Both countries have seen severe disruptions from the coronavirus with widespread closures of cinemas.
China has around 60,000 movie theatres spread across the country, which closed in early January. The timing hit the film industry hard as it came just before Chinese New Year holidays, which normally see $2bn in sales at the box office.
One big film, Lost in Russia, went directly to a streaming site and clocked up in excess of 600m views, according to Chinese media reports. It was available for free from Chinese tech giant ByteDance via two of its streaming platforms.