Art and Experience: The recent political events in Iran have caused a sharp decline in the country’s box office revenues, the Persian service of ILNA reported on Tuesday.

The report shows a fifty-percent drop in box office receipts as a result of the assassination of Quds Force chief Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and its aftermath.

Based on a survey, Tehran’s theaters with 29 movies on screen grossed over 70 billion rials (over $1.6 million) in the twelve days from December 22 to January 2. At the same time, Iranian theaters took in total revenues of over 13.5 billion rials (over $3.2 million).

From January 3 to 13, however, there was a fall in box office receipts across the country. Within the span of eleven days, Tehran’s theaters took in 28.7 billion rials (over $683,000) and theaters across the country grossed over 50.5 billion rials (over $1.2 million). The theaters were closed for three days in the span of eleven days due to the national mourning period for commander Soleimani.

Speaking to ILNA, the director of the Association of Iranian Theater Owners, Mohammad Qased-Ashrafi, confirmed the fall in the country’s box office takings.

“Social circumstances and people’s mental states affect their tendency toward art and cultural activities, including going to the cinema,” he said.

Commander Soleimani and a number his companions were assassinated in a U.S. military attack in Baghdad on January 3. Afterward, Iran retaliated for the attack by targeting a U.S. base in Iraq by over a dozen missiles.

Shortly afterwards, Iran unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian jetliner due to human error, killing all 176 people on board. Following this, Iran’s mishandling of information concerning the downing of the plane escalated political and social tensions.

“There was a decrease in box office receipts after the assassination of commander Soleimani, and the sales saw another sharp drop after Iran announced that the plane had been shot down due to human error,” Qased-Ashrafi said.

He noted that big disasters harm society and cultural activities, and added, “All of us and officials should help return peace to the society.”

Source: Tehrantimes