Lebanese movie theaters have roared back to life, roughly 16 months after total closure, raising hopes that cinema chains can stage a comeback after a brutal year.
Local movie theaters have opened their doors for cinema lovers, but the demand would be shy in the first few months due to the stifling economic situation the country is going through.
Cinema’s comeback will be partial in the first state, as some of it are still working to remove the dust and the scattered glass, as a result of the Beirut Port explosion.
Although cinemas opened, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place, meaning that customers must remain social distanced and wear a face covering when inside the venue.
Demand on cinema tickets is considered shy as a start, especially that ticket prices have skyrocketed, surging from 15,000 to 20,000 LBP before the financial crisis, to 45,000 and 50,000 LBP currently. Prices increased due to devaluation, and Lira’s collapse against dollar on the black market.
One of the cinema attendees told Sawt Beirut International (SBI) reporter Ghida Jebaili, that although the prices have soared, but it is yet affordable if we compare it to the previous prices. He said: “It was previously $10, but it doesn’t exceed 50,000 LBP currently. Popcorn prices have been raised 4,000 LBP.”
Another movie visitor said: “The price hike has affected everything, but what matters is that the pulse of Beirut city never stops.”
Another attendee said, “We missed the cinema a lot, and ticket prices are justified amid the latest increase in cost of living.”
Movie theaters were waiting for the dollar exchange rate to improve, in order to set an affordable price ticket. But they chose to speed up their comeback, even though they will work without any profit margins, as revenues will avoid them the total collapse.