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Sep 23, 2020

Cineplex hails return of moviegoers despite COVID-hampered attendance

Cineplex hails return of moviegoers despite COVID-hampered attendance

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Cineplex Inc. said Wednesday more than 1.5 million patrons attended movies at its cinemas since July 1.

However, the numbers reveal the toll that COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions have taken on the country’s largest movie theatre operator: Cineplex counted nearly 17.5 million theatre guests in the third quarter of last year, which ended on Sept. 30. Year-over-year, that works out to a nearly 92 per-cent plunge in attendance.

In addition to social-distancing protocols, the chain has suffered from distributors seeking other avenues for exhibition like The Walt Disney Company did with its latest offering, ‘Mulan,’ which was made available for $34.99 on its Disney+ streaming service.

Even Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ raked in just US$20.2 million at the North American box office over Labour Day weekend, compared to a US$50-million opening for his 2017 film ‘Dunkirk.’

Cineplex shares opened Wednesday trading at $7.80, down nearly 75 per cent from the company’s Mar. 10 close of $31. The company was one of two removed from the S&P/TSX Composite Index on Monday.