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Has the epidemic killed cinema?  At the Venice Film Festival, the answer is no

Has the epidemic killed cinema? At the Venice Film Festival, the answer is no

Change habits to enter Close It was relatively easy, but getting out of it turned out to be more complicated than expected. It’s a situation known to all professional sectors – especially in cinema, where movie theaters are still struggling to get people back to the stage.

Movie theaters are still empty

Italian cinemas are facing great difficulty. In 2019, the last normal year, the cumulative score of office box 635 million euros. If we compare the first eight months of the year, 2022 is 58.9% less than in 2019.

It is a disaster that is not isolated. Even in the US, the comparison between the first eight months of 2019 and 2022 is unforgiving: -32.9%. Turning to Europe, the decline in Germany was 35.6%, France 33.4% and Spain 46.1%. Terrible results, but at least not as bad as the Italian results.

Is it permanent change then? After all, the restrictions were lifted, some works were released and the conditions for returning to the stage are not available.

Causes of the crisis

The first suspect, of course, is flow. Supply doubled: The sector is now very competitive, with Netflix having to compete with Amazon, Disney+, Mubi, AppleTV, and many more. Globally Netflix itself has had to post a drop in subscriptions (minus a million between April and July, from a total of about 220 million), although it is making solid profits: in the quarter ending June 2022, it put in $1.44 billion in cash on a turnover of nearly 8 billion.

But the effect of broadcasting does not seem enough to explain the situation – especially in Italy. The total number of subscribers in our country is about 4.6 million, while the total in France and Germany are 8.4 and 10.7 million, respectively. So it seems inappropriate that Italy – where there are relatively fewer Netflix subscribers – It is also the country where the return of cinema is less.

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It seems that those who love movies as a form of entertainment can easily go to the theater and pay a subscription (or more than one) for a live broadcast. Moreover, the product is also very different, since the main driving force of the views on the platforms is represented by the chain.

A report on Italians and cinema

Film directing presented by the Ministry of Culture on Venice Film Festival A report by SWG titled “Italians and Cinema – Use of Film in and Out of Italian Cinemas”, which attempts to identify the causes of malaise based on a very large sample of interviewees (over 12,000 people), to show how seriously institutions take the problem.

The results clearly point to a viral culprit. In 2022, only 4 in 10 Italians went to the cinema, compared to 6 out of 10 in 2019 – and among those who ditched or stopped going to the cinema, 47% answered that they were “afraid of contracting Covid-19”, or Also to be “disturbed by restrictions”. Only 14% answered that they stayed home longer because “the broadcast offer has expanded.”

This makes exhibitors partially optimistic, because once a long wave of pandemic It will finally be possible to return to hope in the cinema of the past. We can also add a fact: the lockdown has not only delayed the release of many titles, but has necessarily caused a real creative block among the filmmakers, between the days they spend in the living room and the lack of social contact, which necessarily translates into a rather tiring period for the original titles and/ or successful.

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Because explaining the suffering of the halls with the idea of ​​generalized laziness of the audience is not entirely correct. There are several factors including it Difficulty getting off the couch It is just one of many – and they must be solved one by one.

The fate of cinemas

Will the halls disappear? It depends on how they will be able to organize themselves, expand the offer with relevant events, the necessary restructuring of some truly “old” venues and customized marketing plans – on the model of what major US chains do.

Of course there is one point: the painful closure of many Italian cinemas represents the destruction of the seating devices to return to the great numbers that existed ten years ago. with less salt, there are fewer armchairs; And with fewer seats, you get fewer tickets, especially considering that most admissions take place in the first two weeks of programming – so the “maximum capacity” of the cinema circuit is very important. Actions must now be taken to mitigate the effects of the acute phase of the crisis, otherwise the consequences will be difficult to reverse.

There are positive signs: Among the lines of interference Ministry of Culture There is not only support for the entire supply chain, but also support for theaters, with live interventions and annual events that allow you to watch previews and movies at a discount.

The experience of updating rooms can also help: it has now been statistically proven that the so-called rooms excellent, With large screens and state-of-the-art sound systems (plus comfy armchairs) it performs distinctly better than traditional ones. Just forget about it, and the future of cinema will start all over again. (All rights reserved)

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