The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the body that represents European movie theater owners, is calling on governments across the continent to do everything in their power to ensure that cinemas are able to overcome the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued Tuesday, UNIC sounded the alarm for an industry in the grips of a profound crisis.
“The overwhelming majority of cinemas in Europe have closed in response to measures to limit the spread of the current coronavirus outbreak,” the statement read. “This will have a huge economic and social impact in their local communities, but our priority at this moment must be the health of our audiences and the millions of people in our sector dedicated to making the cinema-going experience unique.”
The organization urged national governments to “do all they can,” stressing that a unified front was required in the face of an unprecedented threat to the European film industry.
“The entire film and cinema sector is in this together—we will only succeed through supporting each other,” said UNIC. “Our shared ambition is for European cinemas to emerge from the current challenges to once again be the vibrant home of culture and community that they always have been.”
The statement continued: “We look forward to the day when our members can welcome audiences back so once again they can enjoy the unparalleled cultural and social experience of watching a film together on the Big Screen.”
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 continent. Members include Les Cinémas Pathé Gaumont, Cineplex, Cineworld Group, Kinepolis Group, Odeon Cinemas Group, UGC, and Vue International.