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Movie magic returns to cinemas

Cinemas looking forward to welcoming their audiences back Source: Getty

As New South Wales prepares to leave lockdown, cinemas in the state are hoping to make the most of the economic boom, after a lean winter. The pandemic has proven to be the industry's biggest challenge in decades.

At Sydney's historic Orpheum Picture Palace, final preparations are underway ahead of what operators hope is a box office boom.

Manager Alex Temesvari says, "It's fantastic, it's a huge relief. Definitely been a tough few months for everybody, particularly our industry. And we're just so grateful to be opening the doors and getting back to doing what we love."

It's three months since Sydney's delta outbreak forced an abrupt curtain call.

From Monday, 11-Oct movie theatres will be allowed to once again host a crowd of up to 75 per cent capacity, with masks and a double dose of vaccine as a condition of entry.

Film festivals are now planning to attract audiences eager to see different cultures captured on celluloid.

Simonne Goran is a programmer at the Japanese Film Festival, which is due to open across the country in November. 

Goran says, "It has been a bit of a challenge. And of course, cinemas not knowing whether they're going to be reopening, or whether there's going to be restrictions for capacity. All of these things have definitely posed some issues. But we've managed to push through and persevere Luckily."

The pandemic has caused the cinema's biggest disruption in decades,

Major blockbusters, including the latest James Bond thriller, 'No Time to Die', were pushed back months, at a cost of millions - as outbreaks in America and other major markets worsened.

And another threat - streaming services, which filled the void left by cinemas,

Studios like Warner Brothers and Disney have opted to premiere films online alongside theatre releases.

Liam Burke is a screen studies lecturer, at Swinburne University. 

So with the pandemic still with us -  will moviegoers in states recording hundreds of covid cases a day, be once again willing to share a confined space with a group of strangers.

The signs - overseas are promising.

When No Time To Die was released in British cinemas last month, it smashed box office records

Other movies, like superhero blockbuster Shang Chi and the legend of the Ten Rings, have also opted for cinema exclusive releases and cashed in.

Operators here are optimistic - the lure of the big screen and public health measures will quell any COVID concerns.

Temesavari says, "The cinema industry has faced challenges for decades now and generally overcome those and you know, we just live in a world now where things are a little bit different."

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