Thanh said last weekend that he was in favor of the proposal by cinema chains – CGV, BHD Star, Galaxy and Lotte – to keep their cinemas open after midnight, according to a report on the government portal.
The four channels last week called on the government to change regulations and allow them to show films after midnight, helping cinemas earn more and give moviegoers more options.
Currently, screenings are allowed between 8 a.m. and midnight, and violations can result in fines of up to 10 million VND ($427).
However, Thanh said theaters should not stay open 24 hours a day. He urged cinema chains to conduct thorough market research and determine the ideal times when people want to see movies.
Theaters should only be allowed to open after midnight in areas where the night-time economy was thriving and only after all necessary measures had been taken to ensure patron safety, he added.
The department has already written to the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism recommending that cinema hours be extended past midnight. The ministry will seek comments from other agencies before reporting to the Prime Minister.
Director Nguyen Quang Dung said, “It doesn’t matter to me whether cinemas are open until 2 a.m. or 6 a.m. as long as it’s safe. Given their busy schedules, many office workers don’t can go to the cinema only at odd hours.
“At the same time, cinema chains will have the opportunity to make the most of blockbuster films with more screenings.”
Dung said security shouldn’t be a major issue, given that most modern theater complexes have surveillance cameras installed.
Nguyen Thi Mai Hoa, CEO of Galaxy Cinema, said his chain would only open cinemas after midnight in areas with a proven history of late-night foot traffic and tight security. “We are also concerned about the safety and health of our staff.”
She also agreed to the proposal to allow screenings until 2 a.m., saying it would give theaters more screening time to meet audience needs during the Lunar New Year festival and other holidays.
Nguyen Hoang Hai, chief content officer of CJ CGV, said the cinema chain can maintain safety, security and urban order with nighttime screenings since their facilities have been designed appropriately with soundproofing systems and safety in accordance with national technical regulations.
With the easing of the Covid pandemic, cinemas across the country are seeing increased revenues, notably thanks to some blockbusters like “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, which has grossed over VND200 billion (over 8 .54 million), and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” with 196 billion VND (over 8.37 million) and others.
In July 2020, the government approved a plan to develop the country’s night economy. It authorized studies on the advisability and potential of investments for separate night entertainment complexes in Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang for the period 2021-2025, as well as the extension of night service hours in major cities from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m.