Gower Street’s Chief Analyst of Theatrical Insights, Thomas Beranek, was invited to be a speaker on a German webinar about International Perspectives prior to the theatrical re-opening in Germany. The webinar took place Tuesday June 22, a week prior to the coordinated wide re-opening of German cinemas on July 1. It was presented by Boxoffice Pro and HDF Kino e.V., Germany’s largest exhibitor organization.
The webinar was hosted by Jan Runge (JR Consulting, VP ICTA and former CEO of UNIC). Thomas joined featured guests including Niels Swinkels, EVP Universal Picture International; Christine Berg, Managing Director HDF Kino; Claudia Ziegler, Managing Director Haas Cinemas; Natalie Blum, Team lead Forum Film (HDF); and Julien Drouais, Director Movies Webedia Germany.
Thomas started with introducing Gower Street’s multiple activities. He gave an overview of the 5-Stage Blueprint To Recovery and explained it in context of the re-opening of the German market in 2020. The main angle of the webinar was the recovery process of the already opened global markets. Given that, Thomas stated that the market share of global movie theaters open topped 80% for the first time in pandemic era during the June 11 play-week. One of the most positive pieces of news is that all global regions are showing a general positive status and trend. That hasn’t previously been the case within the pandemic up until now, as visualized on the following infographic:
In the next part of the Webinar, Thomas highlighted the possibility of recovery with China and Russia as the leading examples, given they already reached the Stage 5 target multiple times and have maintained a sustainable recovery. This shows that a critical mass of people will come back, frequently heading to cinemas when they re-open after and/or within the pandemic. He also highlighted that top range box office numbers can be reached even with certain capacity restrictions still in place. However, it is also obvious that recovery is not a linear process, takes time and is often fragile.
Thomas closed his part of the webinar explaining factors that help the recovery. In the many re-openings since the pandemic began, the recovery process was sped up when cinemas opened at the same time and slowed down when it was a fragmented and diffuse process. Thus, a coordinated re-opening can be seen as helpful for a country to gain traction on the road to recovery. He especially highlighted the change of approach in the UK, which had a fragmented re-opening in 2020 and a coordinated one in 2021. While the UK didn’t reaching Stage 3 in the 2020 re-opening at all, it has hit it twice in the first four weeks of re-opening in 2021. This signaling effect to a wider possible audience can be amplified by holidays and blockbuster releases.
A second very important factor to speed up and especially maintain the recovery is a constant flow of attractive movie releases. Up until the second Quarter of 2020, with the absence of US product, only territories that had strong local product were able to reach higher performance levels of their market. Those which were open but had no product stayed stuck on very low performance levels. Thankfully with the positive level of recovery globally, especially in the Domestic market, this should be less of an issue this year.
Consequently, Thomas gave a positive outlook for the recovery of the German market place which has a coordinated opening on July 1 with a packed release calendar. The late opening, compared to most other major markets, even amplifies the messaging of movie theaters being open again. Therefore the recovery process should be significantly faster than last year. Still, full recovery will need much longer.
The full webinar is available to watch below here.