Moviegoing kicked off again in the UK and France this week, with the former reopening cinemas on Monday and the latter on Wednesday. And so far, signs are very positive after roughly seven months of darkened screens in each market. Advance sales are strong and exhibitors in both are encouraged at the early results.
In the UK, all films in play on Wednesday are estimated to have grossed around £760K ($1.07M). This was the biggest day this week, up about 41% versus Tuesday. That’s largely attributable to Cineworld resuming operations at about 120 sites yesterday after opting to sit out Monday and Tuesday. The Wednesday gross is also roughly 9% over Monday. Through three days of the reopening process (which limits capacity to 50%), UK cinemas have taken in about £2M ($2.83M).
Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is the runaway leader with an estimated $850K through Wednesday. There’s clear appetite for new titles and the big screen experience with Oscar winner Nomadland also doing healthy business along with Warner Bros’ Godzilla Vs Kong, despite the fact they have each been available in homes.
Horror is also making a splash with Lionsgate’s Spiral: From The Book Of Saw and Sony’s The Unholy in the Top 5. Rounding out the Top 10 are five WB titles: Mortal Kombat, Judas And The Black Messiah, Those Who Wish Me Dead, Tom & Jerry and The Little Things. Of those, only Those Who Wish Me Dead has not already been available via PVOD in the UK.
Next week will notably see the release of Japanese smash Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train on Wednesday, followed by Disney’s Cruella on Friday, which will also be available on Disney+.
Conversely, in France, Cruella is expected to be a pure theatrical play owing to the market’s media chronology rules. It’s dated on June 23. Demon Slayer, meanwhile, just went out yesterday in France and was the first choice for Parisians on Wednesday morning.
Other new films in the mix include Quentin Dupieux’s Mandibules (22K+ admissions) which premiered at Venice last year and Christophe Barratier’s comedy Envole-Moi (Fly Me Away) which also broke the 20K admissions mark. Re-releases packed houses, too, including Albert Dupontel’s César winner Adieu Les Cons (Bye Bye Morons), Maïwenn’s ADN (DNA) and Best International Feature Oscar winner Another Round. (We are currently waiting for local reporting on all admissions to be finalized and will update accordingly).
Nathanaël Karmitz, Managing Director of French exhibition circuit MK2, tells Deadline that overall numbers from Wednesday were comparable with the similar day in 2019 — that’s despite capacity being limited to 35%, a 9PM curfew across the country and as the reopening of theaters, museums and restaurant terraces provided plenty of options. MK2 began opening its sites at 8AM on Wednesday with sold out shows. “There was no way to have hoped for better,” says Karmitz, noting the diversity of films on offer and the “mad love of the French for cinema.”
Next week’s releases in France include Oscar winners The Father and Promising Young Woman as well as another recent Japanese hit, Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet.
Beginning June 9, French movie theaters will move to 65% capacity, then, on June 30, restrictions will ease and there will be no limits on attendees, however social distancing will continue to be applied.