Economy, Domestic Economy

Patchy Distribution of Iranian Cinemas

There is one cinema for 286,474 Iranians and one screen for 192,593 people.There is one cinema for 286,474 Iranians and one screen for 192,593 people.

One of the cultural development indicators of each country according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is the number of its moviegoers and one of the main prerequisites of surveying progress in the film industry is the number of cinema's in a country.

There are 195 movie theaters, 62 multiplexes, eight movie halls and 14 cultural centers affiliated to municipalities across the country with 415 screens and 129,123 seats, the Persian-language newspaper Hamshahri reported. However, critics opine the facilities are not evenly distributed in all provinces.  

Ilam Province has only one movie screen and Sistan-Balouchestan has three. Tehran has 147 screens followed by Isfahan and Khorasan Razavi with 27 and 26, respectively. Ardabil, North Khorasan, Qom and West Azarbaijan each have four screens. The average movie screens in 31 provinces is 13 and only eight provinces, namely Isfahan, Alborz, East Azarbaijan, Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Khuzestan, Fars and Mazandaran have cinemas more than the average number.

With 80 million people there is one cinema for 286,474 Iranians and one screen for 192,593 people. The ratio of population to movie theaters has decreased by 7% annually from the fiscal year  ending March 2006  to last year (ended in March). Figures also show there are 120,123 seats for 415 movie screens and the ratio of population to seat is 618:1.

The paper says 72 screens and 12,451 seats were added to film theaters from 2013 to 2016. However, the provinces of Ardabil, Ilam, East Azarbaijan, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiyari, South Khorasan, Zanjan, Kerman, Kohkilouye-Boyerahmad, Gilan, Mazandaran, Lorestan, and Hormozgan saw no increase in movie theater seating. Tehran’s movie screens rose by 34 in the same period.

Private companies and individuals own 27% of the movie theaters while the whopping 73% belongs to government or semi-government organizations.

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and affiliated organizations, including Farabi Cinema Foundation, Cinema City Institute and Iranian Youth Cinema Society, have 31.2% of the cinemas to their name. However,   the seating capacity created by the private sector is higher than that of the ministry, 32.6% of the cinema capacity is owned by the private sector. The same capacity created by municipalities is a meager 9.4%.

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