More cinemas to close their doors

After closing 66 cinema screens across Portugal, including at Portimão, Guia, Madeira, Azores and Castelo Branco, in January, Socorama-Castello Lopes announced that it will now close its screens at the Jumbo Shopping Centre in Setúbal in May.

Workers at Socorama gathered on Monday outside the headquarters of the company in Algés, Oeiras, to protest against the closures.

The demonstration began at 10am and the workers and trade union representativeslater assembled outside the Cinema Londres in Lisbon, also owned by the company, to voice their grievances.

On January 31, a further 49 of Socorama’s 106 cinema screens closed, leaving 75 people jobless. These added to the Portimão, Madeira and Castelo Branco screens that had already closed earlier in the year.

Shopping centres, particularly those belonging to Sonae Sierra (such as the Continente Shopping Centre in Portimão and AlgarveShopping in Guia), have been particularly affected.

In a statement received by the Algarve Resident in January, Sonae Sierra said: “Over several years of contract, Sonae Sierra supported Castello Lopes in order to make the cinema operations viable. However, and despite our support, Castello Lopes has allowed a huge debt to accumulate and has not presented the necessary conditions to make their operations viable.”

Socorama purchased Castello Lopes cinema screens in the late 1990s because of its well-known legacy in terms of cinema broadcasting in Portugal. Socorama retained the Castello Lopes trade name for marketing reasons.