COVID-19 has cost European cinemas at least $20 billion in revenue between 2020 and 2021.
The International Union of Cinema released a report that found that the movie theatres in the European Union and the UK took an estimated multi-billion revenue hit during the first year of the pandemic.
The data from its annual report, which was seen by the Hollywood Reporter and released at the beginning of the CineEurope conference in Barcelona, which started from 20 to 23 June, found that health measures, such as forced closures, face masks, reduced capacity, hindered the sector’s money-making prospects.
In 2019, the industry marked a record of $9.3 billion in revenue before the pandemic-induced fall to $2.8 billion in 2020, according to the report. Last year saw an increase of 40 per cent with the continent’s revenue hitting $3.9 billion, however it still represents a 70 per cent deficit compared to two years prior.
The report’s findings suggested that smaller pool of movies could have posed a barrier to increased revenue as 480 films were released in 2019.
The following year saw only 250 new titles and the following year saw 270. In 2021, just five flicks – ‘No Time to Die’, ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, ‘Dune’, ‘F9’, and ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ – made up the 98 million ticket threshold in 2021, a fraction of the total of 589 million tickets.
In 2020, the trade group recorded 432 million and 1.347 billion in 2019. As Hollywood and other film markets increased their output due to the increased demand and weakening of restrictions, the UNIC maintained a positive attitude about the future of cinema across Europe and the UK, per the report.
It highlighted a Gower Street Analytics prediction that box offices in the region could hit $8.1 billion in 2022, which would mean a 62 per cent increase from last year and a potential return to 2019 levels.
The devastating effects of Covid-19 on various sectors of the economy cannot be overemphasized. With the creative industry being one of the worst-hit, cinemas were not spared of its brazen effects.
Similar to this case of European cinemas is that of Ghana’s famous cinema, Silverbird. Recounting the losses of Silverbird Cinemas, the Country Manager, Funmi Onuma disclosed that the cinema lost over $20M in value during the period. She mentioned that the business is still in a recovery mode because the pandemic caused a major setback including having some of their equipment for operation locked up for many months.
“At one point, products were not even ready to be released onto the market because there were no workers to install the equipment. Most of our products are still in stock and are yet to be sold, causing the industry to suffer greatly”.
Despite the pressing challenges, Funmi Onuma noted that Silverbird Cinemas was preparing to have a fruitful celebration of its 13 years of operation in Ghana.