The film Ròm returned to cinemas on Friday after being delayed a few times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo saostyle.vn
HCM CITY — Representatives of the country’s leading cinemas are urging film producers to release their movies in cinemas when COVID-19 becomes controlled well in Việt Nam.
Speaking at a recent seminar about the cinema industry after COVID-19 in HCM City, Ngô Thị Bích Hiền, managing director of BHD's HCM City Branch, said: “We are urging local producers to release their films to serve audiences at this time."
She said she understood producers’ concerns about revenues.
“Movies with good content and high quality will pull audiences back to cinemas,” she said.
For example, the South Korean blockbuster Peninsula released in July earned VNĐ86 billion (US$3.7 million) in ticket sales, becoming the highest-grossing Korean film in Việt Nam.
Nguyễn Thị Mai Hoa, operation director of Galaxy Cinema, said: “Audiences are ready to go back to cinemas to enjoy a good film.This time is a good opportunity for Vietnamese films to earn audience’s attention when they can avoid competition from Hollywood and other countries. ”
According to Hoa, revenue from Vietnamese films has increased steadily in recent years.
In 2014, as many as 47 Vietnamese films were released with a total revenue of VNĐ762 billion ($33 million), while the number in 2019 was 42 with nearly VNĐ1.2 trillion ($51.8 million) in revenue.
The first half of this year saw big profits for chick-flick film Gái Già Lắm Chiêu 3 (The Royal Bride) with VNĐ165 billion ($7.13 million).
Film producers said they were aware of local cinemas’ concerns about empty cinemas, but they also have their own concerns.
Film producer and actress Trương Ngọc Ánh said: “We hope that cinemas support distribution fees for a certain period after COVID-19, because investment now is unlike before the pandemic. We must think carefully about money.”
Cinemas are working hard to bring Vietnamese films to the big screen.
Lotte Cinema Việt Nam has offered good schedules and marketing, and on Friday released Ròm, a C18-labelled film from director Trần Thanh Huy.
Ròm revolves around the life and fate of a homeless teenage lottery vendor called Ròm who dreams of earning enough money to find his biological mother.
The film won the top award in the New Currents section at the Busan International Film Festival 2019, together with the Iran-Qatar co-production Haifa Street.
After Ròm, a few other Vietnamese films will be released such as rom-com Sài Gòn Trong Cơn Mưa (Love Story in Rainy Sài Gòn) and Chị 13: 3 Ngày Sinh Tử (Sister 13: Three Days to Survive).
However, long-awaited films like Trạng Tí (Child Master) and Tiệc Trăng Máu (Bloody Moon) must be delayed until next year due to COVID-19.
Deputy culture minister Tạ Quang Đông said: “The Việt Nam film industry has been heavily affected by COVID-19 in recent months. Film producers had to stop filming or postpone their film releases.”
"However, film schedules should be arranged to avoid overlapping showtimes.
"Local cinemas should also support Vietnamese films by increasing the number of showtimes, as well as marketing and promotions.
“With high-quality movies, interesting promotions and huge support from local audiences, I believe the Việt Nam industry will stay strong and overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic,” Đông said. — VNS