As a cinema fan, there is currently not that much great news. The reason: A global pandemic is keeping the planet and its people on their toes, and will probably continue to do so for a long time. In some places there are exit restrictions or actually real lockdowns and quarantine regulations. And if you can move about freely in public, then you think three times whether you want to spend this time in a dark cinema room and possibly sit together for hours with other people within reach. It seems like most people don't really want that right now. And the cinemas were correspondingly empty when Christopher Nolan's new film Tenet started.
A film that, as is often the case with this director, is intended to be shown on a huge screen. Many of my friends saw the film and reported that the rooms in which they were sitting were as good as deserted. The same goes for the income from the film (via BoxOfficeMojo). Tenet has been in theaters since the beginning of September 2020 and the film has "only" grossed a little more than 300 million US dollars worldwide. In the US, not even 50 million. Not much for a Christopher Nolan film. But somehow a surprising amount for a time when people think twice about whether they want to go outside at all. Bringing a blockbuster production like Tenet to cinemas was an experiment. Can such a film attract the crowds (if local regulations permit)? Apparently no crowds. But at least some interested people who have even looked at Tenet several times.
That doesn't seem to be enough for those in charge of the big studios. And now it is in all likelihood as if the great panic broke out in the studios not to simply fire an expensive film at a time when the audience volume is unpredictable. The fact that they are removing the basis for survival of cinema operators from their calendars seems to be of secondary importance. Of the Cinema group Cineworld temporarily closes several hundred cinemas in the US and UK. Small cinemas existed at the limit even before the pandemic. It may be that Corona ushered in the end of the movie theaters – and the postponements of major films poured oil into the fire that has been burning for months (and actually for years).
The trigger for the Cineworld closure seems to be the postponement of the new Bond flick No time to die. And with the postponement of a clear guarantee of gross profitability, the other studios also came. In the past few weeks there has only been news in this regard.
- The King's Man – The Beginning – postponed to (probably) February 25, 2021
- James Bond 007: No Time to Die – postponed to March 31, 2021
- Black Widow – postponed to May 7, 2021
- Fast & Furious 9 – postponed to May 27, 2021
- Top Gun Maverick – postponed to (probably) July 8, 2021
- Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – postponed to July 9, 2021
- Dune – postponed to (probably) September 30, 2021
- Eternals – postponed to November 5, 2021
- The Batman – postponed to March 3, 2022
- Jurassic World: Dominion – postponed to June 9, 2022
- The Flash – postponed to November 3, 2022
- Shazam 2 – postponed to June 1, 2023
- Black Adam – postponed to unknown
What do you see there? Lots of Warner Bros. movies, lots of Marvel Studios movies, lots of movies with absolute blockbuster potential. Many of them should have ensured full box offices in the cinemas in summer, autumn and winter 2020, but rushes, or currently perhaps more of a rush, are now definitely not happening. Of course, this also takes away the profit base for cinema operators, because they make most of their sales with snacks and drinks. Where is the journey headed for cinema operators? In view of the corona events, that is difficult to assess. But it can also be estimated that the air will be pretty thin.
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