Malaysian filmmakers reluctant to release movies for fear of poor returns

  • Entertainment
  • Thursday, 02 Jul 2020

'Roh' opens at cinemas nationwide in August. Photo: Handout

Local art industry players are still not confident enough to release their movies although cinemas resumed operations July 1, said Malaysian Film Producers Association (PFM) chief executive officer Zahrin Aris.

He said this was because they were worried about not achieving the targeted collection.

"So far, only Roh is scheduled for release on Aug 6, followed by two more movies in September. Usually, an average of six local movies are aired in cinemas per month,” he told Bernama when contacted today.

He added that although there were standard operating procedure (SOP) for cinemas to operate, producers were just not keen to take the risk, especially if it involved high investments.

On June 22, the government agreed that cinema and theatre operations as well as indoor live events would be allowed beginning today with strict adherence to the SOP set by the authorities, such as limiting the attendance to 250 people for every show, subject to the hall capacity.

Zahrin said that during the movement control order (MCO), the industry players sought alternatives by airing their movies on local paid television channels.

"Four movies were aired and one, it was learnt, earned good collection. The PFM is in the midst of getting the approval of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) to screen these movies again in cinemas, ” he said.

He said PFM held a discussion with Finas and requested for a special incentive, in terms of promotions and marketing assistance for the industry players affected by the MCO, but there had been no feedback so far.

Meanwhile, Finas board member (Tamil Language Content and Indian Market) R. Denes Kumar said the reopening of cinemas should be seen as the government’s effort to help the local industry players.

"However, we must understand that we are bound by strict SOP and all directives are based on the Health Ministry’s advice. This is the new normal that must be adhered to by everyone, ” he said.

Denes Kumar said Finas was in the process of approving applications for the Digital Content Grant for industry players.

Meanwhile, many cinemas seemed well-prepared for their reopening, with operators having conducted disinfection and offering various ticket and meal promotions.

TGV Cinemas has uploaded a 45-second video on its Facebook account explaining the SOP that audiences need to comply with.

GSC Cinemas also released a similar video, besides offering free parking at two of its cinemas. – Bernama

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