Caracas’ Great Mobile Cinema brings reprieve amid deep economic crisis

Global Business

Movie lovers in Venezuela are finding inventive ways to enjoy films, despite the country’s deep economic crisis.

Rising prices have meant many can no longer afford a ticket to see the latest movies.

But as CGTN’s Mary Triny Mena reports, that hasn’t stopped people in Caracas from coming up with their own cinematic experience.

The big screen brought to an even bigger venue. Caracas’ main square is the place to go for an evening of entertainment. 

“We can change a square, a street, an avenue, a slum, a park into a movie theater,” said Bernardo Rotundo, President of Mobile Cinema.

Rotundo estimates before the economic downturn, new releases would sell 120,000 tickets at the country’s box offices. Today, it’s barely a tenth of that number.

“This is a sign of an economy that is falling, where people don’t spend their money on entertainment or cinema. They are using their income to cover basic needs like health and education,” added Rotundo.

The Great Mobile Cinema has been running for 14 years, offering free shows to communities across Venezuela. It’s a lifeline for movie lovers who can no longer afford a luxury that costs almost as much as the monthly minimum wage.

“Your daily income is only for food and for medical emergencies – Going to the movies, it’s too expensive,” said construction worker Carlos Lisboa. 

Streaming movies at home is difficult. The internet is slow, and power cuts are common. To counter that, the Great Mobile Cinema has a back up generator. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to forget about the hardships of day-to-day life and an opportunity to spend a safe night out with the entire family.

 The company has hired security guards to ensure families can enjoy these free movies together.

“For us to go to the cinema, only two members of the family can go at a time. Or just me with my son because we can’t afford to go as a family, ” said secretary Jaqueline Rengifo.

“Normally, going to the movies, there are other things to worry about like transportation and security,” added Architect Carlos Gonzalez who loved going to the movies with his girlfriend.

Going to the movies used to be one of the cheapest forms of entertainment in Venezuela. This mobile cinema is giving people who can least afford it that experience, without the expense.