Movie theaters in France will be allowed to reopen from December 15, President Emmanuel Macron announced this evening in an address to the nation. The country’s second COVID-19 spike has peaked, said Macron, and there will be an overall, gradual easing of restrictions over the next several weeks. Culture “is essential,” Macron insisted. A 9PM curfew will nevertheless be imposed for some time.
The move out of lockdown for movie theaters comes as most of the European majors have been shuttered in recent weeks. On Monday, cinemas in England were given the green light to resume operations next week when the most recent lockdown there comes to an end on December 2. Capacity limits will apply.
Capacity limits for cinemas in France were not directly outlined in Macron’s highly-anticipated speech, though they are expected to be in line with earlier iterations for the time being. France entered a second lockdown phase at the end of October as coronavirus cases escalated.
France’s cinemas were originally shuttered in March, just as the country headed into a tight lockdown that ended in May. Cinemas were allowed to get back to business from June 22.
Box office had performed well, all things considered, during the earlier reopening process and was aided by a mix of local titles like 30 Jours Max ($8.7M) as well as Warner Bros’ Tenet ($23M) and DreamWorks Animation/Universal’s Trolls World Tour ($7.3M). Improvements were seen over time with October seeing 8.5M admissions for the best month in terms of ticket sales since cinemas reopened in June. That’s particularly notable since curfew orders were put in place in mid-October for Paris and several major French cities before the second lockdown was imposed. Overall, the market was down 62% through end-October versus the same period in 2019.
The next major title currently scheduled in France is Wonder Woman 1984 on December 16. We are awaiting confirmation of WB’s plans. The previous Gal Gadot-starrer did $16.3M (unadjusted) in 2017.
Beyond the movie theater news tonight, bar and restaurant owners are dealing with word they cannot reopen until at least January 20, 2021.