The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the body that represents European movie theater owners, has underscored its opposition to any challenge to the theatrical window despite the widespread closure of cinemas due to the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement issued Friday, UNIC said: “With the financial impacts of this unprecedented crisis on our industry still not fully clear, now is not the time to seek short-term financial gains at the expense of the sector as a whole.”

UNIC referred to industry discussion that the temporary closure of cinemas would lead to the release of some titles straight to home entertainment. “This is not a development, however, which is in the interest of either the sector or audiences,” UNIC said.

It added that it expected that the overwhelming majority of films whose theatrical release has been delayed will be rescheduled for release in cinemas when “life returns to normal.”

UNIC appealed to the movie industry to demonstrate “a unity of purpose and a shared sense of responsibility.” It added: “We must pull together so that, once these challenging times are behind us, the whole sector is in the best possible position to recover as soon as possible.”

UNIC, whose CEO is Laura Houlgatte, represents national exhibitors’ associations and cinema operators in 38 European territories, covering more than 42,000 screens across the region. Members include Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont, Cineplex, Cineworld Group, Kinepolis Group, Odeon Cinemas Group, UGC, and Vue International.