The Moscow government has allocated 300 million rubles to support the capital’s cinemas. In total, 71 cinemas received assistance, and this is a large part of the film institutions of the city. Aleksey Voronkov, Chairman of the Association of Cinema Owners, and Aleksey Vasyasin, General Director of the united cinema network Cinema Park and Formula Kino, noted that this is the first serious assistance from the city authorities to cinemas, and also explained what expenses the allocated amount will go to. Details – in the material RT.
The Moscow authorities allocated 300 million rubles to cinemas and cinema chains of the capital as financial assistance. As reported on the Mos.ru portal, the Creative Industries Agency, a subordinate institution of the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development, dealt with applications for support. A total of 45 applications were submitted.
71 cinemas received help from the city. The support was provided both to major film networks in the capital and to individual institutions. The main condition for the provision of funds was the continued operation of the facility in the next three months.
According to the head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development, Alexei Fursin, Moscow residents go to the cinema not only to watch blockbusters, but various important events are also held there.
“Moscow cinemas are a business that was formed independently, without state support. The city managed to create a powerful infrastructure from scratch, which is important to preserve,” Fursin notes. “People go to city cinemas not only to watch blockbusters, retrospectives, small festivals, educational and educational programs are held here.”
As Alexei Vasyasin, general director of the combined cinema network Cinema Park and Formula Kino, said in an interview with RT, the total amount of financial assistance allocated was divided among film owners based on the funds spent.
“The cinema or the network had to bring a certain package of documents related to the compensation of expenses for Russian films. Further, within the framework of these costs, compensation took place, but not more than 50 million per legal entity, ”explained Vasyasin.
According to him, this is the first major financial assistance to cinemas in the capital. Prior to that, additional funds were also allocated for advertising Russian films, but only five or six major Moscow cinema chains received them.
“Sergei Semyonovich (Sobyanin. — RT) and his team in this case, well done. Since the moment of the pandemic, they have been ahead of the rest, that they are now taking a proactive position on all issues, including today’s one – on the allocation of funds for people who will be mobilized within the framework of yesterday’s presidential decree, ”Vasyasin noted.
When asked how this amount will be spent, the CEO of the United Cinema Network answered briefly and clearly: “The allocated funds will go to operating costs: rent, salaries, etc.”
Chairman of the Association of Cinema Owners (AVK) Alexei Voronkov, in a conversation with RT, also noted that this is the first serious assistance that metropolitan cinema chains receive from the authorities. In addition, the expert said that some regions of Russia are also making attempts to help local film institutions.
“This is probably the most significant support that has been provided to cinemas at the level of regions, governors and mayors of cities so far. Something similar happened in St. Petersburg, with a slightly different model. There, the mayor’s office has already bought out all the cinemas twice to carry out some of its actions related to schoolchildren. The Nizhny Novgorod region, as I understand it, has closed the debts for utility bills and partially for salaries. In Irkutsk, some kind of large financial assistance is also being prepared to close utility bills. And, as far as I know, something in the western regions… But that’s all. So far, this is all that is happening, ”said Alexei Voronkov.
The expert added that all funds allocated to date will be used exclusively to cover debts.
“Any funds now are the closure of debts that have accumulated over these six months. First of all, these are rent debts, utility bills. And somewhere already there on the salary, – said Voronkov. – This is not money for development, this is money to pay off debts, to exhale a little. And landlords, too. To feel that the cinemas are paying something and, probably, we need to wait a little more and let the cinemas catch their breath.
In addition, the chairman of AVK expressed hope for an improvement in the situation in the film business market.
“It’s now that content has more or less begun to appear, now there is hope that a law on compulsory licensing will be adopted and a mechanism will be available in Russia, say, for showing a studio copy, because now studio copies are shown on a semi-legal basis,” Voronkov noted.
According to him, the fate of cinemas in the country depends on two possible options that the government could theoretically put into action.
“Given that the money that was allocated to filmmakers this year will only start to recoup after two or three years, because there is a film production cycle, and I still don’t know if the producers received this money or are just planned … More or less we will receive a sufficient amount of domestic content for this money only by the end of 2024-2025. Up to this point, there is no Russian content that can replace studio content. And there are only two options left. The first is constant sponsorship, for example, the allocation of funds to cinemas twice a year so that they simply pay their salaries and can show the small amount of Russian films that they currently have. Or the second direction – the State Duma is now considering a law on compulsory licensing, including for representatives of the cinema industry. If it is adopted in the short term, a month and a half, cinemas will have at least a mechanism for cooperation with studios so as not to expose them to the sanctions of countries. It will be a kind of model, according to which studios will be able to supply their content here in a roundabout way, as well as parallel imports. And this will help cinemas survive until the end of 2024,” Alexey Voronkov explained.
Meanwhile, theater attendance in the capital is still down compared to the same period in 2021. According to Alexei Vasyasin, today the number of viewers has fallen to 65%.
In August, the Russian Association of Cinema Owners turned to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request to instruct the authorities to take measures to support the film distribution industry as soon as possible. The chairman of the organization, Aleksey Voronkov, then noted that the decisions made to replace foreign content from unfriendly countries were not enough to save the cinema business. According to the expert, the revenue of cinemas fell by about 70%, and all past efforts were able to raise it by only 5%.
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“Today, all the support measures that have been proposed, including those of the Ministry of Culture, are of a capitalist nature, even the Pushkin Card, which was introduced as a lifeline for cinemas. It started on February 1, long before this crisis, and was only aimed at increasing attendance. The card really made 10-15% of the turnover. But the turnover of cinemas has now fallen by 70%, ”Voronkov said.
Speaking about parallel imports, Voronkov admitted that it would not be difficult to find an intermediary who could bring copies of world blockbusters to Russia. In his opinion, the difficulty lies in the fact that it is difficult for the government to accept the model of parallel imports. The chairman of the AVC admitted that the deputies react quite sharply to any negotiations on this topic, noting that the law must first be changed, and only after that “how to move, talk.”
The specialist also clarified that in the fall, in September, the cinema business will face a second wave of bankruptcy due to the “large financial burden” associated with paying taxes to funds and loans.