It's his job to save the world, and 007 has reliably done that over and over again for the past few decades. This time the mission is even more difficult - it should be the cinema industry: only when the new James Bond film No Time to Die is finally shown on the screen, that marks the point in time when the industry can finally breathe a sigh of relief. The cinema release is currently scheduled for March 31st, but whether this release date lasts well over a year after the originally planned one is still due to the global infection rate.
The sales slump in the industry in Austria was 73 percent in 2020, at the North American box office it was even 80 percent. The global US cinema chain AMC urgently needs at least $ 750 million in order to survive. When the cinemas break away, where much more money can be made with ticket sales than with streaming, the film industry suffers enormously.
FFP2 mask instead of entrance tests?
The Austrian arthouse cinemas, whose operators recently called for clear framework conditions for reopening, are now calling for urgent help. There is uncertainty for them in the discussion about mandatory entrance tests (which test certificates are permissible? Can we offer tests ourselves? How is the control carried out? Who is liable for them?). The IG Programmkinos pointed out in a broadcast that these in particular should not be viewed as purely economic operations: the cinema is an integral part of European cultural tradition. It is a place of concentration and of conscious and communal seeing.
No Time To Die - Trailer deutsch / german HD from Universal Pictures Germany
In addition to a rescue package for the entire cinema landscape and an FFP2 mask requirement instead of entrance tests, the catalog of requirements includes, above all, the requirement not to put event operations at a disadvantage compared to gastronomy, continues the IG Cinemas: The cinemas have invested a lot of money in high-performance ventilation systems. The audience sit in fixed places, do not move and do not speak to each other during the performance. It is therefore grotesque that stricter rules should apply in cinemas than in restaurants.
Longing for the cinema and streaming in the living room
AUSTRIA Cinemas in crisis
After all the weeks of isolation, there will be a lot of catching up to do in terms of cultural life in the spring, hopes the head of the German arthouse cinema association Christian Bräuer, according to the DPA. However, that could turn out to be a pious wish, because in the past ten months streaming portals have caught the surplus of films: Not only films produced or acquired by Netflix, which would have only had a short screen phase anyway, but also dedicated cinema films such as Disney's Mulan and Regina King's directorial debut, One Night In Miami, moved completely to online portals due to the lack of open venues.
The question of how destructive this strategy is for the cinemas in the long term will only be able to be finally answered after the cinema has reopened. When Warner announced in autumn that it was planning all film releases in parallel in the cinema and on the US streaming platform HBO Max for the time being, the horror of the cinema industry was great. The exploitation window between the cinema and streaming start is usually a few months or at least weeks.
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Christopher Nolan, whose time travel action film Tenet was the only blockbuster in the world in the cinema in the summer of 2020, considers the decision to be a mistake: Warner Bros. do not understand what they are giving up. The decision makes no economic sense, says Nolan. Warner said the strategy was a unique one-year plan, but whether it could be reversed remains to be seen.
No enmity between cinema and streaming
With Wonder Woman 1984, the first major Warner film in the USA has already started in this way, in Austria the film will only be shown in theaters, even if it is still unclear when that will be. Other affected films are Godzilla vs. Kong, the Dune remake by Denis Villeneuve and Matrix 4, which was only shot in Berlin last summer. At least for the time being, however, European cinemas are not in danger of having to do without these popular films. According to Warner Austria, the decision only applies to the USA.
Wonder Woman 1984 Official Trailer from Warner Bros. Pictures
Streaming services have now become a matter of course for the film industry, as can also be seen from the decision to allow films at the Oscars 2021 that were never shown in the cinema. This was unthinkable until the pandemic year, and films such as Alfonso Cuaron's Roma were only shown for short periods in a few cinemas in each country in addition to streaming in order to compete for the Oscars.
Need for shared experience
Meanwhile, Disney has announced an expansion for its in-house streaming platform Disney +. The group, which has owned the traditional film studio 20th Century Fox since 2019, is now also using this archive: From February 23, films that are less suitable for children will be shown on the new Star channel behind a child lock, including the Die Hard film series .
It's not about Netflix, Amazon & amp; Co. to demonize, but it would be negligent to leave the streaming services the sole power and interpretative sovereignty over the moving images, according to the cinema operators. The need for shared experiences is almost as old as humanity itself. The cinema, it can be concluded, is also a social place where such an experience is culturally practiced.