The cinema is currently not in good order due to the Corona situation: the movie theaters have closed, film releases have been postponed in many cases, as have the productions. Added to this is the strong competition from streaming providers, who not only defy the pandemic situation, but also report record numbers.

To make matters worse, the director of the renowned Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Lars Henrik Gass, has spoken out and warned of the destruction of the cinema: "If we do not act quickly now, there will be nothing left of the cinema that needs to be preserved" , said Gass to the Berlin daily newspaper “nd.Der Tag”.

Cinema: Audience numbers plummeted over the years

Lars Henrik Gass comments: "Even before the Corona, people tried to save the business models of film at the expense of the cinemas." The number of viewers has plummeted dramatically over the past few years.

Should cinemas open in the spring, the new offshoot of James Bond should have attracted visitors to the cinemas. However, the film launch was postponed again.


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Attendance at the cinema has steadily decreased over the past few decades. According to Statista figures, around 180 million visitors per year streamed into German cinemas at the turn of the millennium, in 2019 it was only 113 million and thus significantly fewer.

The distributors are also doing their part in the demise of the cinema: The big film studios such as Disney and Warner have been increasing the rental fee for their films for years, which has the consequence of the big blockbusters that attract the most visitors to the cinemas Profit per ticket is the lowest. After further deductions such as the FFA tax, Gema fees and the operating and administrative costs incurred, the bottom line is that the cinema operator has a profit of around 1,72 euros. That emerges from a Handelsblatt interview with marketing and media professor Detlef Bell. In addition, there is falling advertising income and the increasing competition from Netflix and Co.

The cinemas have been struggling for years with declining visitor numbers and ever smaller profit margins. While cinema chains can often save themselves, the independent film temples are hit hard: In particular, smaller program and art house cinemas fear for their existence in the Corona crisis.

Gass advocates a “museumization” of the cinema, the transfer into public hands. One must separate economic and cultural funding, i.e. decouple the cinema from the film market and make it a good of public culture. Gass also sharply criticized German film funding, which urgently needs reform. In its current form it produces neither economically nor artistically satisfactory results, but only mediocrity.