With many lockdown restrictions to be removed over the coming weeks, the Irish cinema industry is gearing up to throw open its doors from June 7th onwards with pent-up demand likely to exceed expectations.
“It’s excellent news for the cinema industry that venues can reopen from 7th June. Between the superb film slate and the number of people talking about how quickly they wish to get back to cinema going, we’re set for a dramatic return period,” says Eoin Wrixon, CEO of Wide Eye Media.
“With key American markets such as LA and New York already open, the slate has firmed up and offers a double dose of powerful key releases attracting people back to the unique environment that is watching a film in a cinema,” he adds.
Globally, cinema audiences are tracking back to pre-Covid levels in markets where restrictions have been lifted. In Australia, 897,000 people visited the cinema over the final weekend of March (25-28 Mar 2021) recording the best admissions since Australia’s pre-Covid lockdown restrictions.
With figures back at January 2020 levels, this sets a new benchmark for audiences there, and confirms the return of consumer confidence in the cinema environment.
Likewise with 90% of cinemas open in China and Japan, admissions in these countries are already back to pre-Covid levels.
Based on two quarters alone, WARC envisages that cinema advertising spend in the UK to be up 248% for the year. As 2021 progresses, WARC is forecasting a 315% growth in Q1 of 2022.
In terms of the safety of cinema-goers, Wrixon says that all cinema operators will have safety protocols in place when they re-open and he urges people to check the industry’s CinemaTogether.ie website for updates.
“Be sure to check CinemaTogether.ie for the latest information about opening dates per location and safeguarding protocols. Exhibitors have worked hard to ensure people are seated within the bubble of their booking, intensive cleaning is in place between shows, and social distancing is strictly adhered to throughout. Cinema is a safe entertainment outlet and globally no Covid-19 cases have been traced to cinema attendance, even in countries that stayed open like Sweden, Taiwan and Japan. This is despite well over 100 million visits to cinemas since the pandemic began,” he says.