Kinepolis Expands Private Cinema Rental Program, Finishes Construction on New Theaters While Awaiting Reopening of European Markets

Image couresy Kinepolis. Photo Credit: Laurent Ghesquiere

Kinepolis reported a sharp decline in attendance in Q1 2021 compared to the same period last year, due to ongoing closures affecting key markets in which the multi-national chain operates. 

Total Q1 2021 attendance across the nine countries in which Kinepolis owns theaters reached .4 million, only 5 percent of Q1 2020 attendance. As noted by Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis Group, the first quarter of 2021 saw more cinema closures than the final months of 2020. Only in the United States, where they operate MJR Cinemas, was Kinepolis able to remain open throughout all of Q1. Select Spanish locations were open for the entire three months, while others opened on March 26. Kinepolis cinemas in Luxembourg were able to open on January 13, while a small number of Kinepolis locations in Canada (where they operate under the Landmark Cinemas brand) were able to reopen their doors. All Kinepolis locations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and—barring one location—Switzerland remained closed at the end of Q1. 

In the context of these continued closures, said Duquenne, “we are managing to limit the cash loss to € -4.7 million per month. Moreover, by taking out a new € 80 million loan earlier this year, we have created additional relief, resulting in € 144.5 million in available financial resources at the end of March.”

While the bulk of Kinepolis locations remain closed due to government restrictions—though they will be allowed to open cinemas in France as of May 19—the chain continued to complete construction projects and roll out new initiatives where possible. New Kinepolis locations in Leidschendam (Netherlands), Moulins-lès-Metz (France), and Tamarack (Canada) are completed and ready to open. Meanwhile, following the launch of their private cinema rental program “Kinepolis Privé” at MJR Cinemas in the U.S., the program has been extended to cinemas in Luxembourg. One of those cinemas—Luxembourg’s Kinepolis Kirchberg—has extended the private cinema rental concept to gaming under the “Kinepolis Play” program, which allows groups of up to 10 people to rent an auditorium for a private video gaming experience. Q1 also saw the return of last summer’s “Kinepolis on Tour” drive-in cinema in Plopsaland De Panne, Belgium; the program will be continued in May at a separate Belgium location.

Says Duquenne: “We are looking forward impatiently to the reopening of our cinemas and to a cinema visit without any restrictions. The hunger of movie lovers is illustrated by the current success of Godzilla vs. Kong, a film that people really want to see on the big screen, and the American film studios are continuing to delay their major blockbusters in anticipation of a wide-scale cinema release. Our teams are more than ready to provide customers with the ultimate movie experience as before.”

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