Going to the movies at the moment is as safe as walking down the street, the manager of a struggling private cinema says.

Penthouse Cinema in Wellington is resorting to playing encores of movies to keep providing content for customers, as big film companies push release dates out to the end of the year.

Manager Ian Macleod said it would be a busy movie season from September to November, but they would need help to still be open when that time came.

They had blocked out alternating seats in their electronic booking system so customers were appropriately spaced in the cinema, and so the room held fewer than 100 people, the Government-mandated limit on indoor gatherings.


But at this point, even having up to 100 people in the cinema "would be great", he said.

"No hesitation in applying for the wages support package," Macleod said.

Staff were also constantly cleaning the cinema, but it was still difficult to bring in enough customers.

Movies such as the new Bond film Black Widow and The Woman in the Window have been pushed back to be released later in the year.

Macleod said Penthouse was now continuing to play earlier movies such as Oscar-winning Parasite and 1917.

"There's some good films out there and people need to see them."

Macleod said the big challenge was convincing people they were safe when going to the movies.

"It's no more dangerous than walking down the street," he said.


"Now's the time to support your local businesses. Go out, see [movies], buy a coffee, get a cake.

"The small cinemas are a vital part of the local community network . . . we provide a vital hub for the community. We need to be here to support the community at the end."