TENET IS NOT ENOUGH TO TURN BACK TIME
Collapse of public attendance at the continent's first 6 markets: lockdown has been accompanied by a lack of films. The only exception is Nolan's picture
Though not unexpected, Europe's box office figures for the first nine months of the Covid year are no less worrying.
The countries for which figures are known, and which include the continent's 6 leading markets*, record drastic plunges. At 4 October 2020, countries that have better managed to contain their losses calculate around half the box office for the same period in 2019.
Turkey, which in "happier" days is worth approximately 200 million euros with 70 million tickets, managed to secure 51% of its 2019 box office. The Netherlands obtained 49%, for a market that had been developing without interruption over the previous twelve years and in 2019 had recorded a total of 347.5 million euro with 38 million spectators (double 1997). In Russia, a country growing so powerfully as to prove the leading market in terms of audience numbers in 2019, the 2020 box office stands at 46%. Two more of the leading markets reach 40%: Germany and Italy.
Relatively less brilliant results for France, where estimates mention 36%, and Spain, which closes the first three months with 32%, a level also reached by the UK and Ireland - with cumulative figures. Although all this comes as no surprise to those working in the sector, it should be remembered that - unlike other activities equally penalized by closure to the public - on re-opening after the spring lockdown, exhibition found itself facing another problem: the lack of product. Not only had production on film sets been closed, but many producers had postponed the release of films that actually were ready, to wait for "better times".
Of the blockbusters that had been announced, Tenet was more or less the only one to reach the international scene.
Distributed by Warner Bros, outside the United States the film earned 53 million dollars in its first five days. Between 3 July and 10 September it won important market shares everywhere, which in some cases were a decisive factor for the survival of theatres.
In Turkey programming at the time was essentially based on the release of 32 titles, 6 of which were domestic films. But Tenet alone obtained 37% of total admissions.
In Russia almost one out of four spectators opted for it. And the 722,000 tickets sold up to 10 September, i.e. the day after its release, had been joined by approximately another 1.8 million by 4 October. Up to 10 September Nolan's film had accounted for 17% of admissions in Germany, for 15% in the Netherlands, 14% in Spain and 11% in France. Without doubt an international success story, but the situation in October on the individual markets reveals some interesting details. The most significant is the extraordinary affirmation in Spain of Padre no hay más que uno 2: La llegada de la suegra. The sequel to Segura's successful 2019 comedy had, by 4 October, attracted over 2.2 million spectators, twice as many as Tenet. Another popular Spanish film is the action comedy Superagente Makey which wins sixth place. Domestic titles also figure in the German top ten, thanks to the animated film Meine Freundin Conni - Geheimnis um Kater Mau, which comes third (seventh in Austria), to Jim Knopf und die Wilde 13 and Takeover, respectively sixth and seventh. In France, Divorce Club comes third, Bigfoot family fifth, the comedy T'as pécho? sixth, Le bonheur des uns ... seventh. In Italy the best result for a domestic film is obtained by Padrenostro, placed fifth, followed by Volevo nascondermi, in Turkey the horror film Cin Bebek - 2 comes fifth, whilst Zengo is sixth. In fourth and sixth position in Russia are Sagittarius and Vratar galaktiki, in fourth and fifth position in the Netherlands Alles is zoals het zou moeten zijn and De piraten van hiernaast. Dulcis in fundo, good news for Italian cinema: in these lists filled mostly by U.S. or domestic films, Pinocchio stands out, coming fifth in Spain, eighth in the Netherlands, ninth in the UK/Ireland. In the countries analysed, Garrone's fairy-tale proves to be the only European film capable of reaching the top ten on three foreign markets.
* Rated by 2019 admissions in descending order: Russia, France, UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.
MEDIA Salles thanks for the collaboration Deniz Yavuz - Antrakt. Data source: Comscore
This article was published in issue no. 180/2020 of Cinema & Video Int'l, the MEDIA Salles media partner.