A total of 420 cinemas across Spain join the programme to encourage the over-65s to return to cinemas

Jul 3, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

This is 64.22% of the private establishments that were estimated to be eligible for this direct aid to encourage audiences to return to cinemas after the pandemic.
Between them, there are more than 3,000 projection screens distributed throughout the country.

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The measure, which will allow 9.5 million people one day a week to have their cinema tickets at a reduced price of 2 euros, comes into effect on Tuesday 11 July.
Of all the cultural sectors, cinema is one of the most affected, even today, by the pandemic, and the age group that is taking the longest to get back into the habit of watching films on the big screen is, precisely, the elderly.
The main associations of the exhibition and distribution sector have collaborated in the design of the programme.
From Tuesday 11 July, people over the age of 65 will be able to go to the cinema at a reduced price of 2 euros, one day a week, in any of the 420 cinemas throughout Spain that have taken advantage of the measure promoted by the Government to encourage people to return to the cinemas. Between them, they total more than 3,000 projection screens distributed throughout the country. This is 64.22% of the total number of private establishments which, according to data from the Instituto de la Cinematografía y de las Artes Audiovisuales (ICAA), were estimated to be eligible for this programme of direct subsidies aimed at one of the segments of the cultural sector most affected by the pandemic.

In Andalusia, 77 cinemas have joined the programme; in Aragon, 16; in Asturias, 6; in the Balearic Islands, 12; in the Canary Islands, 11; in Cantabria, 4; in Castilla-La Mancha, 17; in Castilla y León, 27; in Catalonia, 76; in the Valencian Community, 55; in Extremadura, 8; in Galicia, 17; in La Rioja, 3; in Madrid, 44; in Murcia, 10; in Navarre, 7; in the Basque Country, 28; 1 in Ceuta and 1 in Melilla.

According to the Royal Decree approved by the Council of Ministers on 13 June, at the proposal of the Minister of Culture and Sport, Miquel Iceta, the measure will allow that one day a week, preferably on Tuesdays or another day in the case of cinemas that only open at the weekend or that close on Tuesdays, people aged 65 and over will be able to see a film for 2 euros. Tickets can only be issued at the cinemas’ ticket offices, subject to the person’s identification and proof of age.

The programme has a budget of 10 million euros from the General State Budget 2023. The cinemas will receive the amount of the subsidy depends on the number of reduced-price tickets sold, depending on the difference between their ordinary price and the reduced price of two euros, with a maximum eligible amount of three euros per ticket.

Once the subsidy has been granted, payment will be made on a bimonthly basis. Thus, before 30 September 2023, the amount corresponding to tickets sold between 1 July and 31 August will be paid; and before 30 November, the amount corresponding to tickets sold between 1 September and 31 October. The beneficiaries must justify the activity carried out prior to receiving the corresponding payment.

This subsidy is compatible with other aid from any administration or public or private body with the same purpose: to promote access to cinemas.

Big-screen cinema people aged 65 and over are the age group that is taking the longest time to return to pre-pandemic cinema-going habits. Thus, there are still notable differences in cinema attendance between age groups: while 49.3% of 20-24-year-olds went to the cinema at least once a year between 2021 and 2022, this percentage drops to 6% in the older population.

Of all the cultural sectors, cinema is one of the most affected, even today, by the pandemic. The health measures taken in the wake of COVID-19 led to a significant drop in average cinema attendance among Spanish audiences, an attendance that has not yet recovered. Despite the upturn experienced in 2022, the sector still finds itself with approximately 40% fewer spectators in relation to the average for the years 2017 to 2019.

This measure is aligned with the objectives of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. Its Component 24 aims to facilitate access to culture and encourage the transition to the new digital environment that allows the incorporation of new possibilities and realities. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals also recognise the safeguarding and promotion of culture as two goals in themselves.

The new direct subsidy programme is in addition to the direct support to cinemas that the Ministry of Culture and Sport launched to counteract the effects of COVID-19. In 2022, it allocated more than 10 million euros to 232 companies and entities, and a total of 476 cinemas throughout the country.