The petition has been initiated by CGV, BHD Star, Galaxy, and Lotte, as the current regulations prohibit movie showings past midnight. The authorities have stated that revisions and additions to this prohibition will be approved by November.

This regulation, implemented in 2021 during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, imposes an administrative penalty of VND5-10 million (US$213-427) on cinemas that screen movies past midnight. Cinema operators argue that this regulation is incompatible with the “new normal” strategy for dealing with COVID-19.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, the digital content manager at CJ CGV Vietnam, highlights that this regulation restricts customers’ opportunities to enjoy movies and goes against the government’s objective of promoting the growth of cultural services and healthy entertainment for the nighttime economy. Hai emphasizes that the regulation is out of sync with current development trends and reality.

Hai also explains that movies typically last around two hours, with some running for over two and a half hours. Consequently, to avoid penalties, theaters must schedule their last screenings to start by 9:00 pm, which is relatively early given the vibrant nightlife of cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.

Residents, such as Anh from Ho Chi Minh City, express their desire for cinemas to remain open after midnight to cater to the nighttime entertainment needs of the population in big cities. They believe that theaters provide a good, safe, and healthy option.

On major holidays like National Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and the Lunar New Year festival, the demand for nighttime movie viewings increases substantially. Additionally, cinemas have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with hopes of revenue returning to pre-2019 levels by the end of 2022.

Hai believes that allowing nighttime activities beyond midnight would be a positive move towards stimulating the night economy, creating more jobs, and generating higher state income.

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