File photo: Cinema

President of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG), James Aboagye, says he does not support the calls for the reopening of cinemas amid the pandemic though many sectors of the economy are fully operating.

Speaking on Daybreak Hitz, he said unlike other sectors, the movie industry, producers included, will lose a lot of money if they show their films in cinemas while observing social distancing.

Mr Aboagye explained that the maximum number many cinemas in Ghana can take is 500 at a time. Thus, if people are observing social distancing the maximum capacity will reduce to 250.

“How much will they pay and how much is going to be given to the producer? Because, the sharing proportion is that, a cinema operator takes between 40% and 50% and the producer takes the rest.

“Looking at the cost of operating the cinemas, if the cinema operator take 60% and the producer gets 40% you can calculate how much is 40% of 250. If the nation is going to open the cinema and ask us to observe the protocols to me it doesn’t make sense, we better close,” he added.


His comment comes after President Nana Akufo-Addo announced that the government had engaged cinema owners and operators on a set of protocols and guidelines that need to be put in place and implemented by all operators before eventual re-opening.

President of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) James Aboagye
President of the Film Producers Association of Ghana (FIPAG) James Aboagye

Some people in the film industry complained about the failure of government to reopen cinemas after a year following the closure.

However, Mr Aboagye believes that if the set of guidelines government is hoping to put in place includes social distancing, it will be advisable to keep the cinemas closed until life returns to normal.

He stated that when cinemas were operating at full capacity, the filmmakers did not make much money, hence, a reduced capacity will further add to their woes.

“So if we push for it and we are asked to go and operate at half capacity, because we should observe the protocol, I don’t think it will be a very good business sense to do that,” he said.

Aside from financial loss, he said looking at the structure of cinemas, there could be a fast spread of the virus.

“I’d rather hold onto it (movie) until the time is right, till everything is conducive for people to go to the cinema and have a normal experience. Can you imagine you go to the cinema hall and you cannot discuss what you watched with anybody? Cinema has got its culture, so, if we cannot practice this culture to me it is not right,” he said.