Gower Street’s Director of Theatrical Insights, Rob Mitchell, spoke to Variety‘s Naman Ramachandran this week for an article focused on the re-closure of cinemas across England. The article, titled “England’s Cinemas Brace for a Winter of Discontent Amid Second Lockdown“, featured a number of industry voices discussing the latest problems facing the UK exhibition sector.
Rob discussed the number of cinemas across UK/Ireland that had re-opened at the peak of local recovery, and the fact that a significant portion had yet to re-open at all. He also discussed how numbers had already been falling prior to the UK Government’s requirement that cinemas across England re-close as part of a second month-long national lockdown which began Thursday (Nov. 5), as well as the market’s inability to date to deliver a box office week equivalent to the lowest-grossing week of the past two years (the requirement to achieve the Stage 3 level of Gower Street’s Blueprint To Recovery).
Rob suggested that, with the pipeline of Hollywood product still scarce in December, even if cinemas are permitted to re-open when the latest lockdown ends on December 2 many may chose not to do so having been forced to re-close again. “I definitely think there is a likelihood, once closed, that more UK cinemas will choose not to return until a robust slate is able to come through,” Rob told Variety.
Other contributors interviewed for the article included: Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI; Phil Clapp, Chief Executive of the U.K. Cinema Association; Dan Ellis, managing director of the Jam Jar Cinema; Oliver Meek, executive director of the Rio Cinema; Mark Cunningham, managing director of The Sherbourne Cinema; Paul Carr, owner of the The Northern Light cinema; and Caragh Cook, managing director of PR firm Organic.