Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

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Canberra cinema executives hope this summer’s blockbuster program will help revive the industry after a year of shutdowns and capacity constraints. Cinemas have been one of the most disrupted sectors through the COVID pandemic, with patrons stuck and the delay of some Hollywood productions. Theaters in the area were closed for 11 weeks and did not return to full capacity until the end of October. But Dendy Icon Group CEO Sharon Strickland, who runs the Canberra Center’s Dendy Cinema, said the list of movie screenings during the holiday season was cause for optimism. “The list of contents is the strongest we’ve seen in a long time,” said Mrs Strickland. “There are a ton of great movies planned for this month and beyond.” This week, Denis Villeneuve’s long-awaited epic Dune was released, based on the 1965 science fiction novel. later in the month. “Dune has been on the road for a long time and we expect to see a high number of admissions,” Ms Strickland said, “Spider-Man is shaping up to be this summer’s must-see film. Tickets did not go on sale until Monday and is already far above expectations. ” Limelight Cinemas Tuggeranong’s chief operating officer Michael Singh said there was optimism for the coming period in light of major releases. “Movies like Spider-Man, movies like Dune, are made for the cinema experience in large format, and it always looks like when people have come back through the film industry,” Mr Singh said. “The experience for humans is unsurpassed in terms of the big screen experience with the surround sound and the comfortable chairs.” The growing popularity of streaming services was a by-product of the pandemic, which further troubled the already precarious film industry. Research conducted by the media company Telstyte showed from June 2021 that 80 per cent of Australians now subscribe to a paid streaming service. And throughout the pandemic, film studios chose to bypass cinema release and send movies live for on-demand viewing. Mrs. Strickland thought people were ready to leave the lounge and return to the cinema. “Consumers are a little tired of watching content on the couch and are eager to see quality content on the big screen. You can’t copy the shared cinema experience on the big screen at home,” she said. READ MORE: “People have missed things that they fell in love with at the movies before streaming became available,” Mr. Singh. The threat of COVID transmission is still real, but cinema managers say Canberra’s high vaccination rates should reduce the risk. “I do not think there is an element of perhaps fear or any health concerns that we could have had last year when we reopened, especially because the territory’s vaccination rates are so high,” Mr Singh said. “Fortunately, we are now at 100 percent capacity, but we still encourage people to social distance where possible and maintain hygienic practices.” Despite persistent concerns about the industry’s future, the promise of big-screen entertainment has thrilled most in the industry for months to come. “We’re really ambitious about our new film, especially our summer period. And even looking at the first six months of the calendar year, fantastic, it gives great optimism,” Mr Singh said. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in ACT is free for all to access. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, sign up here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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