British cinemas pressure government for June reopening | Movie


The UK film industry is said to be pressuring the government to approve a reopening plan that would see movie theaters welcoming customers by the end of June.

Phil Clapp, Managing Director of the UK Cinema Association, said: “We have made representations to the government on the safeguards that UK cinemas would seek to put in place for audiences and staff upon reopening, and we have asked that we take into consideration – keeping this in mind – to allow the cinemas to open by the end of June. “

Clapp’s plan fits optimism with Vue Cinemas chief executive Tim Richards, who told the BBC yesterday that he hoped his channel would be operational before the July 17 release of Tenet by Christopher Nolan, the one of the remaining tent blockbusters whose release was not delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“What we are trying to do is work with the government to demonstrate that we are not like sports machines or music concerts,” said Richards.

“We can really control the number of people who enter our cinema at any given time. We have the possibility of programming our films separately and we have the possibility of controlling the entries and the exits of the customers. “

Clapp remains wary of the nature of the proposed security measures, but it is expected that seat capacity ceilings will be mandatory, as well as staggered checkout times, contactless ticketing transactions and improved hygiene measures, such as more frequent cleaning of sites and generalized disinfection stations.

Kristian Connelly, CEO of Australian cinema Nova, confirmed yesterday that they too are counting on Tenet to galvanize business after cinemas reopen, calling the film “the totem guide to the industry’s recovery.”

A high-level science fiction thriller with Robert Pattinson and John David Washington, Tenet follows a secret agent who travels back in time in an attempt to prevent the Third World War. The film, which has a budget of over $ 200 million, was specifically designed for the big screen and shot in Imax, 35mm and 70mm.

Nolan has long been a champion of theatrical experience, and sources suggest that the director himself may be behind the risky decision to make Tenet a canary in the mine in the new cinematic landscape.

Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told Variety, “Chris would really like to release a movie that will hit theaters. I don’t know anyone in America who is pushing harder for the reopening of cinemas and for the release of his film than Chris Nolan. “

If the studio succeeds in profiting from the strategy, it will need public confidence to be high enough for them to venture out and competitors to remain nervous enough for Tenet to be the only major title to play in most cinemas – which will run away from full capacity – for several weeks.

Right now, only Disney has another major title in the books for July: the long-delayed live remake of Mulan, slated for release a week after Tenet.

Last week plans were made to reopen cinemas in the Czech Republic and Norway later in May. Cinemas in China remain closed after a small-scale reopening in mid-March was brutally halted by the government on March 27, when there were fears of a second wave of infections.

All UK cinemas closed during the week before the official March 23 lock. Since then, distributors, exhibitors and studios have quickly recalibrated publishing strategies as the length of the lockout – and subsequent public concerns about releases – lengthened.

Trolls World Tour

Creation of digital records… Trolls: World Tour Photography: DreamWorks Animation LLC./AP

Most major releases have been postponed to the end of this year or to 2021, but those that have chosen to keep their original date and launch them digitally have capitalized on a captive audience eager for new entertainment.

Universal family music trolls: the world tour took more than $ 100 million (£ 80 million) in its first three weeks of release on platforms such as Amazon Prime, easily breaking records for the digital output and prompting Universal’s parent company to suggest that it would seek to reduce output. window after the cinemas reopened.

“As soon as the theaters reopen, we plan to release movies in both formats,” said Jeff Shell, chief executive officer of NBCUniversal. His comments were badly received by the two largest cinema operators in the world – Cineworld and AMC, which owns the Odeon channel in the United Kingdom as well as the largest multiplex chain in the United States – who banned Universal films from being coming, including Fast and Furious Franchises and Jurassic World.

Commentators have expressed skepticism about whether the channels will stick to their word, but the reaction has revealed the industry’s extreme anxiety over the destruction of an economic model already threatened by streamers such as Netflix.

Universal is also the UK distributor of the new James Bond film No Time to Die, which was the first major release delayed from April to November. It is believed that it is unlikely that a simultaneous online outing for such a title would be pursued, as the profit margins for such a outing – as well as its substantial sponsorship campaigns – would require the maximum possible theatrical attendance.

Some sources suggest that Universal may consider further postponement of the release until next year, further suggesting that the studio remains determined to release the cinema.

The film’s current US release date falls on Thanksgiving weekend, a traditionally lucrative place on the calendar, which other studios will monitor if No Time to Die moves. Earlier this week, Paramount Pictures announced a Christmas release for Top Gun: Maverick, which sees a late return for Tom Cruise’s flying ace.

A maximum of steps necessary ... no time to die

A maximum of steps necessary … no time to die

The studio also announced a spot in early September for A Quiet Place 2, which was removed from schedules just before its debut in mid-March. This echoes the eagerness of exhibitors for an early end to cinema closings, while also allowing the option of a digital campaign.

The film, which stars Emily Blunt as the head of a family isolating themselves in an attempt to protect themselves from a global threat, is likely to follow in the footsteps of Bird Box, Netflix’s similarly themed hit with Sandra Bullock, who seen by 45 million accounts in its first seven days of release in late 2018.

A Quiet Place 2 – which is based on long periods of near-silence punctuated by sudden and noisy moments of shock – is also a film perfectly suited to drive-in, which has experienced a spectacular revival since the start of the pandemic.

While studios have been relatively quick to announce plans for flagship titles, exit strategies for smaller-scale dramas – upset by movie theater closings and uncertainty about the future of film festivals where many between them would have started their journey – mainly staying cloudy.

The Cannes and Venice festivals have yet to officially declare whether this year’s editions will be canceled; this news will likely determine the fate of the films vying for next year’s awards.

Yet last week’s announcement by the Academy of Films and Science that the 2021 Oscars would extend its eligibility criteria for just one year to include films that had not made their theatrical debut. to reassure companies that are part of prestige cinema considerably.

It can also be an incentive: if some studios always choose to keep titles in the hope of maximum theatrical profit, smaller outfits could reap benefits in terms of both digital revenue and rewards.


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