Country Focus: Romania
Total number of Romanian screens decreases to 260
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The number of Romanian cinemas decreased from 81 in 2012, according to data made available by the National Center of Cinema (CNC), to 70 in 2013, according Cinemagia.ro, Romania's most popular film website which publishes the screening schedule of every active cinema in the country. With new multiplexes opened in 2013, the number of screens only decreased from 264 to 260. According to a CNC estimate, 85% of the screens are digital and 45% are 3D.
The market is dominated by Cinema City, a cinema chain owned by Israel-based Cinema City International, with 16 cinemas, 145 screens and 27,000 seats in 12 cities. The chain owns the biggest cinema in the country, the 21-screen Cinema City Bucuresti AFI, and the only IMAX screen in Romania. According to annual figures published on the company's website, the chain sold 5.13 million tickets in 2013, approximately 57% of last year's total number of admissions (9 million).
Presently, only 26 Romanian cities have at least one cinema. During the communist era, cinema-going was one of the most popular forms of entertainment and the country had screens in more than 70 towns, all managed under the umbrella of state-owned company RomaniaFilm. After the '89 Revolution, a change in regulations allowed the company to let the cinema halls to private companies and many were turned into casinos, restaurants or where simply left to decay. From more than 600 cinemas in 1990, RomaniaFilm declared only 35 cinemas in 2012 and 28 in 2013, according to the CNC.
The Romanian Film Promotion Association, the organizer of the national film industry awards, the Gopos, and of Romania's most important film festival, Transylvania IFF, is currently preparing a compaign in order to save, recondition and reopen some of the country's old cinemas.