The session focused on the recovery of the European cinema industry in 2021, as most exhibitors were allowed to welcome back visitors from May-June following a second – or third in some cases – round of COVID-19 lockdowns across the region from Q4 2020. The event included a series of presentations and panels focusing on content, audience behaviours and future trends with the support of partners at Comscore, Movio and The Boxoffice Company, as well local reopening stories from UNIC members.
Phil Clapp, UNIC President and UK Cinema Association CEO, introduced the event by sharing an update on the reopening process in the UK, where most cinemas were allowed to reopen from 17 May. UNIC Members Marc-Olivier Sebbag from the French cinema association FNCF, Christine Berg from the German cinema association HDF-Kino and Mario Mazzetti from the Italian cinema association ANEC provided similar reports on their respective territories, which have been experiencing quite different reopening processes and restrictions. In France, cinemas reopened in a highly coordinated manner on 19 May, first at a 35% occupancy rate gradually increasing to 100% from 30 June, and a 9PM curfew which was scrapped on 20 June. French cinema-goers flocked cinemas, literally as soon as they reopened, queuing for the first early morning screenings. Exhibitors have enjoyed incredible reopening results, as they are already enjoying admissions levels which could be compared to normal pre-pandemic weeks. Germany and Italy have had to wait a bit longer to kickstart their recovery process, as the majority of local cinemas were still closed in June, with wider reopening as well as audience engagement campaigns expected for July and August. A presentation from Lucy Jones, Executive Director at Comscore, provided additional figures on the recovery process across leading European territories, framing the local reports from UNIC members.
The Mini Cinema Day also featured an insightful and upbeat panel involving Shawn Robbins and Daniel Loria from the BoxOffice Company, in conversation with Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, diving into the release calendar and the potential impact of upcoming film titles on the European and global box office, as an astounding number of blockbusters and independent films are expected to reach the Big Screen in the second half of 2021. While this panel focused on content, Gabriel Swartland, Regional Director & Vice President, EMEA at Movio, gave a presentation focusing on returning movie-goers and their profile and preferences. The session was wrapped up by a presentation from Julien Marcel, CEO at the Boxoffice Company, which looked into all the emerging trends and recent industry developments, providing participants with food for thought for the weeks ahead as cinemas continue to recover from the pandemic.
The event was concluded by an great teaser video prepared by Benjamin Dauhrer, CTO/CMO at CINECITTA' Multiplexkino and Susanne Flaexl, Managing Director at Cineplex Germany, who have both travelled across Germany during the pandemic to interview local exhibitors and highlight their struggle and resilience during the crisis.
We hope you enjoyed the event and are looking forward to seeing many of you again in person at CineEurope 2021, which will take place on 4-7 October in Barcelona. Make sure to register via this link.