Ster Kinekor expects more South Africans to head back to the cinema to watch Bond and other new releases

Cinema chain Ster Kinekor expects more South Africans to return to the cinema in the coming months on the back of vaccination efforts and a growing film slate.

Ster Kinekor entered into business rescue at the end of January 2021, citing the Covid-19 pandemic and intense lockdown restrictions.

The group said that up until February 2020, the business was profitable and highly cash generative, with good prospects of future and ongoing profitability from the pipeline of blockbuster film content that had been scheduled.

However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent economic lockdown instituted by the South African government at the end of March 2020, all cinemas were required to shut down, and were only permitted to reopen under strict conditions from the end of August 2020.

The group’s business rescue practitioner, Stefan Smyth said he has now received the requisite support yesterday to extend the deadline of the publication of the business rescue plan to 30 November 2021.

In an update to affected persons, Smyth said that an extension of the publication of the plan was necessary due to the advanced stage of discussions with an interested party, who has tendered an indicative term sheet outlining their proposed investment into the business but require time to complete due diligence during a limited period exclusivity.

Meanwhile, the outlook for the company remains stable, assisted by the ongoing vaccination rollout and a reported reduction in daily covid-19 cases, Ster Kienkor said.

Attendance numbers are continuously improving month to month and yesterday’s move to level 1 by President Ramaphosa is welcomed.

The recovery trajectory is still expected towards the end of this year and is supported by a strong ‘slate’ of film content.

“We are at last seeing an improvement in the released film content, and today the new James Bond movie, ‘No time to die’ has been released in all Ster Kinekor theatres,” said chief executive of Ster Kinekor Theatres, Motheo Matsau.

“This blockbuster movie was one of the first to be moved in face of covid-19, so its’ final release in cinemas and not into the streaming space, demonstrates the film industry’s commitment to cinema.”

“With the ongoing vaccination rollout, it is anticipated that public confidence and interest to return to cinemas will improve again with wave 3 behind us. This recovery assumes allowance for a potential wave 4 but which is not predicted to be as acute as wave 3 given the ongoing vaccine rollout. ”

Matsau said that Ster Kinekor is in a prime position to capitalise on the rollout of new awaited and confirmed content, much of which is delayed content from last year and earlier this year.

These movies include Marvels ‘Venom: Let there be carnage’ on 15 October, ‘Dune’ on 22 October, ‘The Eternals’ on 5 November and ‘Spider-Man: No way home’ on 17 December.

Read: YouTube will remove videos with misinformation about any vaccine

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Ster Kinekor expects more South Africans to head back to the cinema to watch Bond and other new releases