March 25, 2023

Cinemas closed, festivals canceled and movie premieres postponed. The blow that Covid-19 inflicted on the film sector completely halted the evolution of an industry, which three years later is immersed in a transition stage. In Spain, the data from recent years confirm the positive evolution of the sector, but also reflect that it still has a long way to go to recover the figures it had when the pandemic turned off the big screen.

According to the report published by the Federation of Cinemas of Spain (FECE), movie theaters closed the last year with a positive balance. The box office reached 379 million euros, 49% more than in 2021, and the number of viewers rose to 61.2 million, which represents the second consecutive year with an advance of 45%. However, the document states that the current figures are still 40% below the media of the years prior to the pandemic (2017-2019).

In this line, Luis Gil, General Director of FECE, explains to this medium that the industry hopes to “achieve full recovery in 2024.” “2023 has started very well, driven above all by the ‘Avatar effect’ (best premiere since 2019) and continued to cut the gap compared to pre-pandemic figures. The forecast is to continue along the same lines this year, with progressive viewership, recovery and reach full recovery in 2024”, he highlights.

The exclusivity of the premieres is lost

One of the main obstacles hindering the recovery of viewers is the short time that elapses from when a film opens in the theater until it does so on the next platform. The critical sector that before the pandemic, the usual practice was to respect a minimum of 112 days from the premiere to the next window. However, the 6% that did not comply with this in 2019 has risen to 38% in 2022.

The alarm is even greater when we analyze the large American distributors, whose films lead the collection and the audience, and we see that in up to 62% of their releases the loss of exclusivity occurs under 109 days. In addition, within that group, more than half do so for less than 60 days. This factor does not allow the optimal exploitation of the film by the exhibition so that it maximizes its results at the box office, thus losing the exclusivity of the theatrical release and the expectation that this entails in the consumer.

Europe recovers at double speed

Another of the most interesting approaches included in the report is the double-speed recovery that Europe is experiencing. The countries in the south of the Old Continent such as Spain, Italy, Greece or Portugal are the furthest from recovery, while those in the north, such as Denmark or Norway, top the list of countries with the highest degree of recovery compared to 2019 figures. .

The difference, according to the federation, is due to “social and climatic factors.” “In southern Europe the character of the people is more social, more given to outdoor activities thanks to the good weather and that means that the cinema has to compete with many alternative outdoor leisure options for much of the day. year, something that does not happen in northern countries”, argues its CEO.

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