CJ Cinema Summit Review June 4, 2020

CJ Cinema Summit from May 28th, 2020: Training, Re-training and New Social Distancing Routines

Source: Screen International Source: Screen International

This week, the main focus was on cinemas’ staffing and training needs as theaters across the globe began to reopen. We discussed how cinemas are welcoming moviegoers back into the theatres and touched upon the issue of safety for employees who are in direct contact with guests.


At the CJ Cinema Summit, the teams at Celluloid Junkie, The Big Picture and Filmgrail bring you the latest in cinema news, film tech and the entertainment industry. 

This week, the main focus was on cinemas’ staffing and training needs as theaters across the globe began to reopen. We discussed how cinemas are welcoming moviegoers back into the theatres and touched upon the issue of safety for employees who are in direct contact with guests. 

Hosts Patrick Von Sychowski and Sperling Reich started off with their weekly overview of global happenings in the world of cinema, with the most prominent news being the trailer release of Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated blockbuster, Tenet. Several questions on the matter remained unanswered, however, mainly regarding the release date, which was not included in the trailer. 

For Reich, the missing release date is probably due to the varying time frames of cinema reopenings across the US. “LA should be open by the postulated July 31 release. However, cinemas in New York may still be closed by then,” he said. 

The panel discussion was kicked-off with Claudiu Tanasescu, CEO at Cinema Intelligence, whose team has designed a free post-COVID-19 budgeting & recovery tool to help cinemas with their reopening strategies. 

Tanasescu discussed a three-step action plan for exhibitors reopening across the globe:

  1. Conduct an up-to-day analysis on profitability and staffing figures;

  2. Create data-driven triggers that can assist with the recovery phase;

  3. Identify opportunities to make the most of the current situation. 

Next up, host Von Sychowski touched base with Debbie Stanford-Kristiansen, CEO of Novo Cinemas in Dubai and Sophie Bouckaert, International Human Resources Director at Kinepolis Group, both of whose teams have been working around the clock since reopening their cinemas’ doors. 

Bouckaert discussed the security and safety measures put in place for Kinepolis staff members across Europe, Canada, and the US. Where possible, employees are encouraged to work from home. While for those needing to be present at the cinemas, special training was provided to ensure everyone followed clear safety and social distancing protocols. The cinema chain is also only allowing the pre-ordering of concessions through online purchases. 

Meanwhile, at Novo Cinemas, weekly management meetings and think-time sessions have been put in place to gather ideas and feedback from the staff on the ground. In addition, training sessions have been organized and temperature readings are taking place when moviegoers arrive at the mall. 

"When we got the final government guidelines, they weren't that different from the information we had,” said Stanford-Kristiansen. “While pre-planning, we had been updating our guidelines and training based on new information. So, when we got the green-light, we were ready to open," she concluded. 

Novo Cinemas is currently running at 30% capacity with old releases such as The Gentleman, Bad Boys, 1917, Hustler, Bloodshot and The Joker being shown. The hope, however, is for the cinema to be running at full capacity by the end of the year. 

The CJ Cinema Summit episode can be found here.

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