Spider-Man: There’s no way home broke pandemic box office records, but new Canadian capacity and other theater restrictions amid an increase in omicron variation have dented key Christmas season ticket sales for the development giant. local exhibition Cineplex.
Ellis Jacob, President and CEO of Cineplex, said in a statement on Thursday: “The timing of these restrictions is unfortunate as we are approaching our busiest period of the year. Canadian provinces have tightened public health restrictions on movie theaters as the omicron variant has seen the country’s COVID-19 infection rate soar amid fears of a surge Post-holiday spikes will affect hospitals.
Despite the busy holiday season, cinemas in Quebec have been closed, while locations in the rest of the country have been reduced to 50% capacity. Cineplex, the country’s largest exhibitor, has 19 theaters in Quebec and Newfoundland that have closed as the provinces seek to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.
Only Saskatchewan has no capacity limits affecting cinema chains. Cineplex has another 141 operating theaters in the rest of Canada. In Ontario, Cineplex had to cut seats in its multiplexers by 50%, excluding locations in regional markets such as Kingston, Sault Ste Marie, Ottawa, Belleville and Sudbury, where medical directives are in place. local supplementary public health.
Jacob in his comments considers tighter restrictions on cinemas and other public venues as all but inevitable in the face of a dramatic increase in cases nationwide. “While we were not able to realize the full benefits of the film Spider-Man: There’s no way home, which has had its second-biggest domestic opening weekend of all time and its biggest December opening ever, we know the industry is recovering and our guests want to return to our theaters. ,” Jacob added looking over the current omicron growth spurt.
Cineplex, which received an earlier bailout from lenders after box office sales tumbled amid a pandemic shutdown before the Canadian circuit reopens, said it was once again. revised credit agreements with lenders due to the financial impact of the latest COVID-19 public health restrictions. affect its operation.
Cineplex said the fourth amendment allows the cinema chain to suspend testing of financial covenants until the second quarter of 2022 under certain conditions. “With the omicron variant pushing for new mandatory operating restrictions, we feel it is prudent to approach supporting lenders to continue to pause testing their financial covenants,” said Jacob. me until the second quarter of 2022.
Earlier during the pandemic, Jacobs was vocal about his criticism of government-mandated restrictions and the closing of cinemas for failing to take into account the safety precautions in place in his chain of stores.
“When we look at movie-going in general, it simply doesn’t pose the same risks as other indoor venues and services,” Jacob said during the virtual Cineplex’s annual general meeting in October 2020. .