Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (pictured) has announced the imminent shutdown of all businesses across the country after 10 p.m., including restaurants, movie theaters and concert venues, as the country looks to stem a rise in coronavirus cases.
Turkey tallied 2,343 new cases on Tuesday according to national health ministry data released in local media. The figures indicated that the overall count now stands at 382,118 coronavirus infections and more than 10,000 deaths.
Istanbul, which is the hub of the country’s film and TV industries, is among the provinces suffering from a more severe outbreak, according to Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, which quoted Health Minister Fahrettin Koca last week announcing that the city currently hosts 40% of the country’s current coronavirus patients.
Nonetheless, film and TV production in Turkey continues undeterred, sources confirmed.
Netflix last month announced they were ramping up production in Turkey with a slate of 10 new film and television projects.
For Turkish exhibitors and producers, closing movie theaters after 10 p.m. does not constitute a major blow. “Nobody was going to cinemas in the past months and the box office was a disaster,” says prominent Turkish film industry multi-hyphenate Ahmet Boyacioglu, a festival programmer, producer, director and promoter.
He cites the latest Turkish box office figures showing that “Tenet” — between its Aug. 26 release and this past weekend — has pulled a mere 220,000 admissions in Turkish cinemas. The frame’s top title, U.S. slasher “Haunt,” directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, sold a mere 5,900 tickets; “Tenet” came in second with 4,075 admissions; and Norwegian director Lars Klevberg’s chiller “Polaroid” was third, clocking a paltry 2,543 admissions.
This isn’t to say, however, that Turkish audiences have lost their passion for seeing films on the big screen. Boyacioglu heads the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, which held a hybrid edition in October where socially distanced outdoor screenings of new Turkish features and international titles were very well-attended.
Turkey is still recovering from a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that originated near the Greek island of Samos on Friday and killed 102 people and injured close to 1,000. The city of Izmir, along the Aegean coast, was the hardest hit.