Movie chains rely on 007 to replenish their revenue affected by Covid | Travel & Leisure
As Ticket sales come back to life after theaters reopened earlier this month, theater owners are banking on one movie to give them pre-pandemic-level crowds and box office success: Bond.
True to its roadmap to get out of confinement, the government authorized the reopening of cinemas from May 17. This gave Hollywood studios the confidence that they could turn a profit by returning to the big screen with blockbusters like Marvel’s. Black Widow and the latest addition to the Fast and Furious franchise this summer.
But after three date changes imposed by the pandemic, the biggest film of the year could be No time to die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 superspy. It is seen by many in the film industry as unofficially marking the end of the health crisis that has devastated their finances.
“We have Bond,” says Tim Richards, Managing Director of Vue, the UK’s third-largest cinema chain. “He was delayed because it’s so good. The confidence that everyone has in this film, the pent-up demand… It’s going to be great. Whenever one of our clients asks me for a movie release date, it’s usually Bond related. “
The Bond franchise, owned by Eon Productions and MGM’s new parent company, Amazon, is carefully geared towards maximizing box office sales. There have only been 25 films in 59 years and the fallout is taboo, which makes Bond a premium big screen draw. The last movie, Spectrum, made $ 880 million worldwide, while its predecessor Fall from the sky exceeded $ 1.1 billion. The promise of such returns was why a $ 600 million offer from Apple for digital release during the lockdown was ultimately rejected in favor of waiting for theaters to deliver.
Pearl & Dean, which sells advertising for around a fifth of the UK film market, estimates the hype is such that ad bookings will return to 2019 levels when Bond premieres at the end of September.
“We have a connection,” says Clare Turner, sales manager at Pearl & Dean. “Each time, before Covid, the screen slots for Bond were fully sold. The demand from advertisers for this film is enormous. And much more, now it’s back in its pre-Christmas niche – the “golden quarter” advertisers love. It wasn’t as popular when Bond was slated for an April release.
Turner says overall trust levels are much higher now that the cinema finally appears to be on the road to recovery. Revenue for 2021 is expected to be 10 times that of 2020, which saw the lowest annual admissions on record and an 80% drop in box office revenue.
“When theaters reopened last summer, conversations with advertisers were about the cancellation policy and what the conditions were if we went into another lockdown,” she says. “Those conversations aren’t happening this time: it’s not people’s priority. We’re definitely not going back to lockdown and the movie roster is stronger.”
The UK’s biggest chain, Cineworld, decided to keep all of its 127 locations closed indefinitely when Bond’s premiere date was moved last October. But it has now reopened and optimistically predicts admissions will return to 90% of pre-Covid levels by the end of the year. Next year it will be only 10% below 2019 levels, and by 2023 it will only be 5% below.
Vue’s Richards – who is looking to spice up the channel’s offering with talks to get Netflix movies to the big screen and a possible deal with BT to show the Champions League final – says the pandemic blockbuster backlog in waiting to be released on the big screen is great news for moviegoers.
“The consensus within the industry is that without theatrical release, huge sums of money are wasted,” he says, adding that movie theater owners are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic revenues until the end of the year. 2023. “In a normal market, we pray for rain. But now, rain or shine, people want to go out and do things, like watch a movie. We have three years of films to show in the next 12-18 months. We are on the verge of entering a second golden age of cinema.