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經濟學人:電影院危機(2)

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She may be too late. Attendance was declining before covid-19. To distinguish a night at the movies from a night with Netflix, cinemas built snazzy multiplexes with waiters ferrying burgers to viewers lolling in reclining seats. This helped rack up debt: AMC’s $10bn-worth was more than six times last year’s gross operating profit. Cineworld’s ratio was almost as high.

神奇女俠可能來的太晚了。新冠爆發以前,觀影人數就在下滑。為了區別影院觀影以及在家用網飛進行觀影,影院打造了新潮的多銀幕電影院,而且服務員會把漢堡送到懶洋洋躺在座椅上的觀眾手中。這也增加了債務:AMC負債100億美元,是去年總營業利潤的六倍以上。電影世界的比率幾乎一樣高。
Nine months without revenues from big releases would be disastrous. America’s National Association of Theatre Owners predicts that seven out of ten small or medium- sized cinema companies will go bust without a bail-out, which it has urged Congress to grant. Both AMC and Cineworld are likely to default or file for bankruptcy, believes Moody’s, a ratings agency; AMC could run out of cash by January. Share prices of Western operators have slumped this year, and are now worth a fifth as much as five years ago. (Chinese ones have done better.)
九個月沒有大片發行帶來的收入於影院而言是場災難。美國全國影院業主協會預測,如果沒有紓困,70%的中小型影院公司將會破產,該協會也不斷敦促國會批准企業救濟。穆迪評級機構認為,AMC和電影世界都可能違約甚至申請破產。AMC可能會在明年1月耗盡現金。今年西方各家影院公司的股價暴跌,現在的股價只有五年前的五分之一。(中國的影院公司狀況稍好一些。)

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Cinema bosses have urged studios to keep the films coming. Eric Wold of B. Riley, an investment bank, says Hollywood may need to “take a hit to feed the industry” and keep it from “completely falling apart”. Warner Bros took one by releasing “Tenet” in the summer; with takings of just $45m at the American box office, the sci-fi thriller may not break even. And studios cannot afford charity. Disney recently laid off 28,000 workers from its covid-hit theme parks.

電影院的老闆們敦促電影公司不斷製作電影。投資銀行B. Riley的艾瑞克·伍得表示,好萊塢可能需要“自斷其臂以養活行業”,防止整個行業“徹底分崩離析”。華納兄弟在今年夏天發行了《信條》,這部科幻驚悚片在美國的票房收入只有4500萬美元,可能無法實現收支平衡。製片公司可不會行善積德。受疫情影響,迪士尼最近解僱了旗下主題公園的2.8萬名員工。
One day the blockbusters will return. Even then, cinemas will have to defer investments, raise prices and close branches to shore up their balance-sheets—just as viewers have more reasons than ever to stay home. The average American household subscribes to four streaming services, reckons Deloitte, a consultancy. Film studios are bargaining down how long films are shown exclusively in theatres; AMC recently let Universal put future releases online after just three weekends in cinemas, in return for a share of the takings. Even if covid-19 doesn’t smash it entirely, the big screen is likely to get a lot smaller.
大片終有一天會迴歸。但即便如此,觀眾比以往任何時候都更有理由呆在家中,影院也不得不推遲投資,提高票價並關閉分支機構來支撐其資產負債表。諮詢機構德勤估計,美國家庭平均訂購四種流媒體服務。電影製片廠正在就影院獨播電影的時間而討價還價。最近,AMC同意環球影院的新片在影院僅連續放映三個週末後就投放到流媒體平台,作為回報,AMC可以從中分一杯羹。即使新冠病毒沒有完全粉碎電影行業,影院市場也很可能會縮水很多。

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