French Culture Minister Updates On Cinema Openings, Says All Regions Must Return At Same Time


As France awaits official updates that are expected to come later this week with regard to the re-opening of restaurants and perhaps fewer restrictions on travel, Culture Minister Franck Riester reiterated today that cinemas are eyeing a July 1 re-start.

Speaking to France Info, Riester said the government is mulling dates to re-open cultural venues including theaters and moviehouses. “For cinemas, we are working on an opening from July 1, or the beginning of July. For theaters, we may be able to open progressively in June.” Nothing has been concretely decided, he said, offering that these are the current scenarios that are being considered.

A few weeks ago, Riester had indicated the re-opening of movie theaters might be progressive throughout the hexagon which has been divided into green and red zones. Paris and its environs — the largest box office center in the country — are still red, and the idea of movie theaters coming back online without the capital has been a concern. Today, Riester said, “Cinemas absolutely must open at the same time in all regions in order to amortize distribution costs and so that the French people know which films are playing.” (In neighboring Germany, individual states are rolling out in a staggered manner.)

Safety measures are as-yet undetermined, however it is expected there will be reduced capacity at screenings, without “necessarily having a physical separation in the strict sense,” Riester noted. Movie theaters have been closed since mid-March throughout the country.

Riester also spoke to getting filming back up and running for movies and TV shows and said, “in order for them to re-start, producers must be protected.” The French government has created a 50M euro indemnity fund which is expected to go into effect on June 1. Guidelines for on-set working conditions have been submitted to France’s Labor Ministry.

Restaurants and bars are still shuttered until at least June 2 and people are advised not to travel beyond 100 kilometers from their homes — these restrictions are expected to be updated on Thursday by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. All events that assemble more than 5,000 people are banned until the end of August, however the annual Fête de la Musique which takes place nationally in late June, will go ahead under certain conditions that are yet to be defined.

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