New Zealand's biggest cinema chain says it could still be more than a month before it reopens its theatres.
Most businesses and other entertainment venues have reopened after the mandatory lockdown, but cinemas have remained closed through alert levels 4, 3 and 2.
Cinema group Reading Cinemas today reopened its theatres, albeit with reduced seating numbers and increased hygiene measures.
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Event Cinemas said reopening its 19 locations in New Zealand depended on global film releases scheduled by the major Hollywood studios and how the alert level restrictions applied to cinemas.
This explains why rival Hoyts, which also screens predominantly blockbuster Hollywood films, has also remained shut - with no word on when it will reopen.
Carmen Switzer, general manager of Event Cinemas NZ, said it would not be viable for multiplex cinemas to reopen until the next major film release, which is Warner Brothers' Tenet - scheduled for July 16.
"In the meantime we are looking at how we may reopen on a limited basis with alternative and retrospective film content before mid-July," Switzer told the Herald.
"We have invested in e-commerce to ensure we can meet social distancing requirements and developed sanitation plans that are being tested with customers and have been well received. We will make further announcements about a formal re-opening date soon. We know our customers cannot wait to visit us and we look forward to welcoming audiences back to their local cinema."
Event runs its own-branded cinemas as well as the Rialto chain and The Embassy.
Chinese-owned Hoyts has not responded to the Herald's request on when it would reopen its cinemas.
A banner on Hoyts website says it will be "reopening soon". It does not specify when, but is advertising Tenet showing at its 10 theatres from July 16 and Disney's Mulan from July 23.
Motion Picture Distributors' Association of New Zealand (MPDA), which represents cinema operators throughout the country, said operators were free to make their own decisions on when they reopen to the public.
MPDA general manager Sharon Walling said some operators with international owners could be restricted as to when they could reopen their local venues.
Walling would not comment on whether she thought all cinemas in New Zealand should be open already.
Retail analyst Chris Wilkinson said the complexity of close-contact environments such as cinema theatres was difficult to manage from a corporate perspective.
He said without new international releases it would be hard to attract consumers to theatres even if they were open.
"We've seen how some of the boutique cinema groups have managed issues - such as screens between seats, but with the scale of Hoyts and Events portfolios they have likely found this too challenging to manage," Wilkinson said.
"With level one a lot of the constraints disappear and consumer confidence will return so they may have felt the wait was more prudent. There have been fewer consumers in many of the environments their cinemas are located, so limitations in audience potential would have already been an issue."
New Zealand cinemas have been closed since late March.
Industry operators and the association representing them have remained tight-lipped on the economic impact the Covid-19 pandemic, but analysts think it will be significant.
Before lockdown, cinema revenue dropped by at least a 50 per cent, in line with the declines experienced by tourism and hospitality operators.