Is it time for UK Cinemas to re-open?
It's undoubtedly been a difficult time for the entertainment industry as of late, just as it has been for many sectors having to adapt to the struggles the global pandemic presents. While creating content is a challenge in itself, unveiling it to an audience is equally troublesome.
So with UK cinemas starting to re-open, we all have to ask is it the right time?
While streaming and home viewing might seem like the obvious answer for delayed movies, along with the new push for drive-ins, the film industry simply hasn't had the preparation to fully adopt these business models.
To completely change the way the film industry works will not only be costly, but time-consuming, something the cinema industry didn't prepare for as corona-virus emerged almost out of nowhere.
A cinema release with later revenue from rental, purchase, and then streaming, has worked for many years, so for Hollywood, it's vital for cinema chains to get open.
Odeon, Cineworld, Vue, and Showcase have all announced plans to open in July, with most leading the charge on July 4th. But with major blockbusters continually getting pushed back, and fears of local outbreaks constantly on the news, re-opening is still a risky move.
China attempted to re-open cinemas back in March after the peak of the virus had passed, only to close once more due to low attendees and fears of a second wave.
Most cinema chains in the US have remained closed, with some exceptions depending on the state, and type of theatre. But till the biggest US cities such as New York and Los Angeles are able to open, it is unlikely any American films will open without their biggest sources of revenue.
Christopher Nolan's Tenet being pushed back to August has meant Vue and Cineworld have now pushed back their openings to the end of July. In a statement to Deadline Vue said-
“We want to offer a great choice of content for the big screen experience and despite having many classic films and recent releases lined up to whet the appetite of cinema audiences this summer, the worldwide rescheduling of the release dates of Mulan and Tenet has prompted us to review our opening dates."
So far Christopher Nolan has championed the return of cinemas with screenings of Interstellar and Inception promised in order to get people ready for his new film. Tenet hopes to be the first big release of the summer and with a larger majority of its target audience being cinephiles, it's a fair bet it could do decent numbers. But its the remainder of 2020 and even early 2021 that could still be troublesome as films continue to be pushed further and further back.
Not only do the likes of Wonder Woman 1984, Mulan, and Black Widow seem like old news despite never being released, many audiences feel uncomfortable going somewhere like a cinema till there's a vaccine or dramatic drop in cases. That hesitancy and lack of new content could really hurt the box office and cinema's reputations, especially if their rivals on streaming are producing equally good, or better content.
Smaller films, along with classics could be a great way to gradually ease film fans back, while also restoring faith in casual viewers. But with Odeon not citing facemasks as mandatory, and the fact you'll still be in an enclosed air-conditioned room puts a fair amount of early concern in audiences' minds.
If big cinema markets such as the US and China re-open, some normality may be able to resume, but the continuing delay of Hollywood movies doesn't give much hope for that happening anytime soon.
Much of the event and performance industry has been practically postponed till next year, so could cinemas face the same harsh truth?
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