Twilight of the seventh art? Cinema looks into the abyss in times of coronavirus

The rooms that are best weathering the crisis are those attached to large chains and also the rooms of an independent nature because they are at the mercy of a usually very loyal audience.


Author of the picture: asae studio

Among the industries that have suffered the most from the onslaught of the coronavirus is undoubtedly the seventh art. First the cinemas had to face the forced closure of their cinemas. Later, and already with the de-escalation, the blinds were raised again but with a completely trivial obstacle: the reduction of capacity (plus the obligation to use gels and masks). And now with the second wave of COVID-19 already wreaking havoc in our country, the film industry has once again been afraid of.

During the confinement, a good part of the moviegoers got used (by force) to consume movies at home And, at the moment with a new quarantine eventually around the corner (in regions like Madrid at least), people who had lost their fear of going to the movies during the summer could once again lock themselves up within the four walls from your home to soak up movies.

“The strategy is clearly to lose as little as possible, economically, and demonstrate that cinemas are safe places, on a social level. Theaters are with the red danger light on”, warns Francesc Vilallonga, professor of Structure of the film industry at the Faculty of Communication and International Relations of Blanquerna (Ramon Llull University), in statements to The country.

The film industry in our country has also made a lot of delay (sometimes sine die) of big “blockbusters” from across the pond. At the end of the day, American cinema represents 70% of the box office in Spain.

Mulan, one of the most anticipated films of the year, premiered, for example, earlier this month in digital format on Disney +. And the industry could not help but pull its hair when it learned about the unusual strategy of the Mickey Mouse company. In fact, the FECE (Federation of Spanish Film Entrepreneurs Entities) calls Disney’s maneuver a consumer scam and accuses the US multinational of harming the film industry.

The lack of “blockbusters” coming from Hollywood is doing a lot of damage to theaters

On the other hand, another “buzz” from Hollywood came to the big screen: Tenet. The latest by Christopher Nolan had a soothing effect on the box office of Spanish cinemas, as did Father there is only one 2 by Santiago Segura. This latest film, a sequel to another successful film released last year, gobbled up 70% of the box office in Spain during the first week of August.

For now, and according to experts, The rooms that are best weathering the crisis are those attached to large chains and also the rooms of an independent nature because they are at the mercy of a usually very loyal audience. Much worse is the situation faced by the commercial halls that do not have large companies behind as a shield and that are terribly dependent on the big “blockbusters” coming from across the seas.

In Spain, the film industry has also been quite unprotected by the authorities, who have not taken the trouble to inject public money into theaters (as it has happened in countries like France, Italy or Germany). In our country, public aid has been limited to helping cinemas to equip themselves with security measures.

On the other hand, not even the big chains are safe from the strong onslaught of the coronavirus crisis. This is the case, for example, of the British chain Cineworld, which during the first half of the year recorded losses of 1.4 billion euros. These figures double the current capitalization of the second largest cinema operator in the world. And faced with this imbalance, Cineworld has already announced that it will start a capital increase soon.

The Belgian chain Kinepolis, for its part, accumulates 50% falls in the stock markets. And its securities have been listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange at minimum levels for six years.

In recent days, Disney has also made two advertisements that have made movie theaters (both large and small) blown away. Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story is being pushed back from late 2020 to December 2021, and the Marvel movie of Black Widow It is delayed six months and will not see the light until May 2021.

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