With Hollywood studios deciding to postpone the release of a number of blockbuster films slated to be released in the coming weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak across the globe, New Providence’s largest entertainment hub is expected to have its own negative impact.
Chief Executive Officer of Fusion Superplex Carlos Foulkes said the company is preparing for a decline in movie attendance due to the postponement of movies “Fast and the Furious 9”, “No Time to Die” (the new James Bond movie), “Mulan”, “The New Mutants” and other audience pleasers.
He said his hope is that Bahamians still chose to use the entertainment center’s other offerings.
“Our business serves customers in multiple types of ways. You referenced the movies. We did have some unforeseen cancellations in the movies schedule as a result of Hollywood studios pushing those dates back. And yes, those movies we anticipated would create revenue for us at this time of the year and so that would be a negative impact on the movie attendance,” he told Guardian Business.
“There are persons who come to the movies to do other things, get a cup of coffee, they’ll go to the restaurant. So, we will see some decline in attendance as a result of the changes or the removal of the movies on the schedule in the entirety.”
Foulkes said if it needed to, the facility has the capacity to screen alternative content.
“They may not bring in as much Hollywood movies, but it does allow the facility to continue to operate. And of course, our model itself, we have multiple types of entertainment options. So, if the movie isn’t something someone wants to see they can just come out and go to the restaurant or hang at the coffee shop, go to the arcade,” he said.
“And of course we have events that will continue to go on. People are not really going to cancel their events, like their reception for their wedding or anything like that, unless there was an actual outbreak, which is the real concern. So, we do not have a major issue unless there’s an outbreak in the country. Bahamians are generally going to go about their business, we expect them to do so.”
Foulkes, who spoke to Guardian Business on Friday before the announcement of The Bahamas’ first confirmed case of COVID-19, said the facility will remain open despite the viral outbreak, unless it is forced to close by government order.
“If something happens, then the government may act in a particular manner that may affect the businesses negatively. We are a public space and people may be concerned about coming out to public spaces. At this point we are just hoping that the incidents do not occur here locally but expect the government and the authorities to act in a particular manner to prevent a major issue,” he said.
“But at this point we can only hope that we are somewhat preserved from what’s happening in the international environment and if something does happen, we will do our best to cope and to mitigate. But we do not plan to close. That would be something that would be imposed upon us I would assume. You know if there’s a significant risk to the public at that point, we’d look at it and say alright, we can modify business hours for a couple of weeks until the incidents are under control.”
He said in the meantime, the company has been following all of the Ministry of Health’s advisories to develop its own plan for employees.
“In terms of what our plan is, we have for some weeks now been working on the deployment of sanitation and cleanliness notification to the customers as well as the employees. We’ve already briefed them on what to do in terms of how often they should be washing their hands, keeping them away from their faces during the day and things like that,” Foulkes said.