Seventeen movie theaters at Espaço Itaú closed their doors this Thursday (16), the institution announced in a statement. The closing of activities took place at the Salvador, Curitiba and Porto Alegre units.
Keeping its operations only in São Paulo, Brasília and Rio de Janeiro, Espaço Itaú de Cinema also promises to intensify its performance on the digital platform Itaú Cultural Play, free streaming service launched in June this year.
According to the press release, the rooms in Salvador, Curitiba and Porto Alegre had been operating with an occupancy rate of less than 20% since 2019.
The cinema that operated in the Bourbon Shopping Country in the state capital will continue, but no longer as Espaço Itaú. The operation will be transferred to businessman Adhemar Oliveira —in São Paulo, he is director of programming at Cinesala.
In a statement, the company stated that the “cinema will remain closed to carry out works and necessary changes (exchange of visual programming, adaptation of digital systems, etc.) with reopening expected soon”, and that the plan is to maintain the same style of programming, combining commercial and independent cinema.
Amidst the crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the movie industry has gone through significant changes, such as the closing —temporary and permanent — of the movie theaters, postponement of filming, new rules at major awards and the strengthening of streaming services, since during the social isolation digital platforms were for many the only alternative to watching movies.
“The reduction of physical operation will not represent a reduction in the scope of space actions”, says the note. “On the contrary, the network is intensifying its digital dissemination activity in partnership with Itaú Cultural Play.”
“By strengthening streaming distribution, more consumers will be reached, taking Espaço Itaú de Cinema to all corners of the country,” says Beatriz Schmidt, financial-administrative director of Espaço Itaú de Cinema.
Although he emphasizes that the objective of Itaú Cultural Play is to disseminate Brazilian audiovisual production for free, Schmidt says it is possible “that at some point, Espaço Itaú de Cinema will have a catalog of films on the platform that may be paid for”.
Among the units that remain open, 25 are in São Paulo, six in Rio de Janeiro and nine in Brasília. The partnership between Espaço Itaú and the platform establishes that every two months new films will be released at Itaú Cultural Play.