Three major Nigerian cinema exhibitors, Filmhouse, Silverbird, and Genesis, have temporarily shut down operations nationwide.
This move is in compliance with the government’s restrictions on large gatherings to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Filmhouse released a statement announcing the closure “to ensure the maximum safety of our guests and staff.”
“In response to state government advice concerning the spread of COVID-19. we are temporarily closing all of our Lagos cinemas to ensure the maximum safety of our guests and staff,” it said.
“We look forward to welcoming you with the best possible cinema experience as soon as things return to normal.
“In the meantime, continue to follow the recommended guidelines for hygiene and social distancing in order to keep yourself, family, and friends safe and healthy.”
— Filmhouse Cinemas Ng (@FilmhouseCinema) March 22, 2020
Similarly, Genesis Cinemas also announced the suspension of operations across all of its sites in the commercial city via a statement on Twitter.
“We’ve been monitoring the developments with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). At Genesis Cinemas, our top priority is the health and safety of our customers and team members,” their statement read.
“In the light of the most recent information available, we are taking precautionary measures to temporarily suspend all operations at our Lagos sites effective immediately.
“As this is an evolving situation, we will keep you updated and we look forward to welcoming you back soon with the best cinema experience”.
— Genesis Cinemas (@genesiscinemas) March 22, 2020.
Also the management of Ben Bruce-owned cinema chain, Silverbird, also announced the temporary closure of its cinema outlets nationwide citing coronavirus pandemic as a reason.
“To all our customers. Your health and safety are our number one priority. In order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the management of Silverbird Cinemas has decided to shut down operations temporarily in all our cinema locations across Nigeria”.
— Silverbird Cinemas (@SilverbCinemas) March 23, 2020
The shutdown of cinemas in Nigeria comes at a time when the global cinema industry has been greatly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Following the suspension of film projects in China, long-scheduled cinema releases like Nollywood’s first-ever collaboration with Bollywood was similarly postponed.
Meanwhile, more than 500 cinema screens have reopened in China, where the coronavirus outbreak is seen to be receding.
State media CGTN reported that 486 theaters were open for business on Friday. On Monday, financial publication Caixin added that the box office takings remain minimal as the public is mostly staying away.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a substantial impact on the global film industry. Most recently, Disney delayed films including ‘Black Widow’, ‘Regal’ while AMC shut down movie theaters across the U.S.