“If the depression continues, the complex financing of the cinema sector will eventually arise”

Chronic. The weeks pass and it is the same depression for the cinema as a large part of the public does not return. While, for a year, the climate has been one of patience linked to Covid, specialists fear a structural, irremediable change in the public’s practices. So the panic is on the way.

There are always some to multiply the scapegoats: the health pass, the mask, the weather, mediocre films, the presidential election, inflation, the war in Ukraine, winter sports… As soon as a film make a box, like Retirement homesome perceive the light, before becoming disillusioned and postponing the revival at the Cannes Film Festival in May, when the film is released Avatar 2, in December, or on the Greek kalends.

It is true that depression is there, even in theaters or restaurants. It is the desire to go out that is weakened. Except that cinema in France, a unifying and popular art, whose variety of films and number of cinemas are unrivaled in the world, has often escaped the storms.

2019, the last year without Covid, serves as a benchmark, even if it was exceptional. Let’s forget 2020 and 2021, which were logically chaotic. Except last December, the month of hopes, with good entries. But now the first three months of 2022 are delivering a cold shower: attendance down by 38%. March was even the worst month since 1999. The first two weeks of April are a little less bad.

Triple penalty

In fact, December 2021 was a mirage called Spider-Man: No Way Home, whose sticky superhero drew 7.3 million viewers. Much more than before, cinemas owe their survival at the moment to a handful of American films. When French productions dominate the market, admissions plummet.

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The French sometimes dominate because a number of Hollywood films are also “collected” in theaters or are broadcast on platforms. And if there are surprises, like BAC North, by Cédric Jimenez (2.2 million admissions), there are above all a lot of disappointments.

Some are happy thatlost illusionsby Xavier Giannoli, is close to a million spectators, but with a budget of 18 million euros, if the public followed, it is disappointing in relation to the financial stakes.

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Let’s figure it out, this audience. Young people have returned in droves, especially for American blockbusters magnified by the big screen, but their limit is to be occasional spectators. People aged 50 and over return to theaters much less. It’s a triple penalty, because they are well off, fond of auteur films and go to the cinemas several times a month.

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