Monday, June 22, after an unprecedented period of closure of 100 days, the cinemas finally reopened, framed by a strict sanitary protocol. A date logically expected as a release by all the professionals of the industry, who estimate to have lost nearly 60 million admissions, between the beginning of March and the end of June, compared to the same period the previous year; or a loss estimated at nearly 400 million euros. According to a study carried out by Médiamétrie and carried out between June 10-16, no less than 18.7 million French people expressed their desire to return to dark rooms. This means that the first attendance figures at the opening and the days that followed were scrutinized by operators and distributors.
This Monday, June 22, after the opening session of the UGC cinema in Les Halles in Paris, a traditional barometer for cinema attendance, the counter displayed 421 cumulative admissions for all films combined. “A result worthy of a Wednesday outing”, specified the specialized media Le Film français, in a tweet:
Sure BFM Business, Nathanaël Karmitz, chairman of the board of directors of the MK2 group, was delighted with the return of spectators at the end of this crucial first day. “The spectators have been there since this morning at 9:00 am so we are rather delighted” he explained from a cinema of the MK2 chain in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. “The first figures are excellent. We made more than 300 people at this first session at 9 am [dans ce cinéma], that is to say a filling similar to the pre-crisis. After all, the challenge now is to know when the gauge will return to 100%. We must have perspectives on this normality. “
Questioned that same day by the cameras of France 5 after a projection of the De Gaulle biopic, which was attended by the Minister of Culture Franck Riester, Richard Patry, the president of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF) was just as enthusiastic as Nathanaël Karmitz. “The numbers are pretty good for a classic Monday. We are very very happy, it is starting again and there is real energy” commented on the person leaving a room “full”, but of course respecting the distance of a gap seat between the spectators who do not know each other.
What about the results of this first day of recovery? These are works supposed to come out at the time of confinement which take the lion’s share. At the top is the shadow of Stalin, with 10,359 entries, out of a combination of 275 copies. Far behind is the horror horror film The Demon Inside, with 5,500 national admissions, while the drama Filles de joie ended the walk with 4,615 admissions broken down into 211 copies. We note in passing the very beautiful figure of David Lynch’s masterpiece, Elephant Man, projected in a splendid restored copy, which attracted that day in 43 rooms not less than 1171 people. To date, John Merrick’s misadventures have attracted more than 7,700 people, thanks to a significantly higher number of copies in circulation (66).
Between June 24 and 28, a trio of films released in early March, which saw their exploitation interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, came at the top of the ranking. The Good Wife takes 1st place followed by De Gaulle and In front of the Pixar stable.
In this Top 10, four novelties manage to find a place. Of particular note are the excellent figures from Agniezska Holland’s film, Shadow of Stalin. It takes first place among the innovations in operation since June 22. Stronger figures than its competitors De Gaulle and Forward crisscross the field with a number of copies in circulation 2 to 3 times higher; the biopic De Gaulle being a steamroller in this area with 1060 copies. But it only averages 91 viewers / copy, where Shadow of Stalin in fact 130. The performance is particularly clear on the Paris market, where the film is the leader in 18 of the 25 cinemas where it is screened. “We are delighted with this result, especially given the context of the market’s timid recovery” said Alexis Mas, president of Condor Distribution. “The reopening bet paid off, helped by an initial campaign and a very noticeable recovery, and strong support from the press. ” In total, the Top 30 films motivated 599,262 viewers last week. The recovery is there, but still fragile and shy. It remains to confirm the test, in a period still made of uncertainties.