The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the body representing European cinema trade associations and operators, has today issued the following statement:
The health and welfare of all of those working in the sector is the top priority for all European cinema operators as we face up to the unparalleled challenges presented by the global Coronavirus outbreak.
In these unprecedented times, it is crucial that the entire industry comes together and prepares for the day when we can welcome audiences back to once again enjoy the unique Big Screen experience.
We are all, individually and collectively, having to make adjustments in our daily lives as we seek to ensure that the threat to our collective well-being is minimised.
But we must also look to the future and to the long-term health of our sector, something best achieved by demonstrating a unity of purpose and a shared sense of responsibility.
We all depend on each other.
With the financial impacts of this unprecedented crisis on our industry still not fully clear, now is not the time to seek short-term financial gains at the expense of the sector as a whole.
Some are speculating that the temporary closure of cinemas will lead to the release of some titles straight to home entertainment. This is not a development, however, which is in the interest of either the sector or audiences. For these and so many other reasons, we anticipate that the overwhelming majority of films which have been delayed by the current difficulties will be rescheduled for cinema release as life returns to normal.
In the meantime, we must pull together so that, once these challenging times are behind us, the whole sector is in the best possible position to recover as soon as possible.
We are confident that when audiences are able to return, they will soon rediscover the unforgettable, immersive experience that only the Big Screen can deliver and that cinemas will continue to play the role they always have, in good times and bad, as the most popular, affordable form of entertainment available outside the home.