Multinational cinema circuit Kinepolis reported its 2020 financial year results this week, providing a glimpse into the full scale of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Box office revenues across the circuit fell by 70 percent, with concessions sales declining by the same margin, in a year that challenged each of the group’s 56 European and 55 North American locations.
Kinepolis was outpacing its 2019 admissions by 12 percent up to March 12, when its numbers, along with the rest of the cinema industry’s, plunged due to the onset of the pandemic. The circuit finished the year with a total of 12.1 million visitors, 73 percent lower than its original projections and 70.1 below 2019 levels. The circuit’s best performing market in 2020 was the Netherlands (-55.7%) where looser restrictions and a solid slate of local productions helped mitigate losses over the second half of the year.
“With a liquidity reserve of €171 million at the start of this year, Kinepolis can stand firm for quite some time and we can say with certainty that our company will survive this crisis,” said Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis Group, in the company’s year end financial report.
“Everyone is waiting for the reopening of the cinemas. Both the U.S. studios, who continue to postpone their blockbusters because of the importance of cinemas in the life cycle of a film, and our customers, who need to be able to relax away from home. And our employees, who have been unemployed for a long time, are also eager to get back into action. We are convinced that we can reopen safely and thereby contribute to everyone’s well-being,” he said.
Kinepolis has stayed busy during the pandemic by advancing construction on new construction projects in the Netherlands (Kinepolis Haarlem, Leidschendam), France (Metz Waves), and Canada (Edmonton Tamarack). Moreover, the circuit will once again be permitted to open new locations in its home market, Belgium, as early as August 21, following clearance from government authorities.
The circuit also used the downturn during the pandemic to test several initiatives it has since enacted in other markets. “Kinepolis on Tour,” was introduced over the summer, a series of pop-up drive-ins at more than ten locations that welcomed more than 16,000 vehicles. The concept’s success in 2020 will see it expand in 2021, beginning over the Easter holidays and running through the summer.
In Canada, Kinepolis’s Landmark Cinemas chain launched a home delivery service for concessions items through Uber Eats. That concept’s success was then applied to the European market, with Belgium’s Kinepolis Antwerp location used as the first test site in December 2020. The circuit will expand home delivery of concessions to Belgian locations in Kortrijk, Leuven, Ghent, and Liège later this year.
Kinepolis launched a private theater rental program in its U.S. circuit, Michigan’s MJR Digital Cinemas, in October 2020. Successful results saw it make its way overseas, premiering in Luxembourg locations in February 2021 as “Kinepolis Privé.” A further expansion is planned for Belgium later this year.