This year has seen a greater release calendar shuffle than normal. Markets around the world have suffered from continual re-adjustment of the Hollywood studio calendars – mostly delaying key titles until 2021.
Today for the first time we turn our interactive release change visualization to look at the Australian market.
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Hit ‘play’ to begin:
The visualization begins with the calendar as it was at the start of May this year, and progresses through all the changes we have seen this year so far.
Each film is a circle, its size showing the relative size of the predicted or actual box office. The colour represents the studio releasing it: circles fade when the film releases.
As the animation progresses, films moving to a future date arc over the top of the timeline. Films moving forward arc under the line. Any film that is removed completely or remains unset simply drops off the calendar.
Move your mouse over the circles and arcs to get more information on the films and calendar changes.
As you watch you will see the dramatic change flowing from June. Of course, as we now know one move has not ensured definitive placement. One of the first moves evident on this timeline is Universal’s decision (enacted May 22) to move Aretha Franklin biopic RESPECT from Oct. 29 to Jan. 21. Only this week we have seen the film’s North American release date further pushed from January to August 2021, a move yet to be reflected on the Australian calendar but expected imminently.
It is also interesting and encouraging to note in September and more obviously in October, a greater frequency of releases moving up to fill gaps in the market. Recent titles to do so include action fantasy MONSTER HUNTER, from the RESIDENT EVIL team of director Paul W.S. Anderson and star Milla Jovovich; crime drama LET HIM GO, starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane; horror THE EMPTY MAN; and romantic drama ALL MY LIFE.
You can also drag the timeline further into the future to visualize all the release changes and how they stretch into 2021 and beyond.
Like most global markets Australia closed its cinemas in March. The Australian shut down came on March 23, at which point Australia was tracking 6% behind 2019. Drive-ins began to return in May, starting with the Yatala Drive-in in Queensland (May 2). Traditional cinemas followed, slowly and by state, from June starting in the Northern Territory (June 5), South Australia (June 8) and Queensland (June 12).
Australia, like many global markets, has a heavy reliance on Hollywood imports in comparison to the major markets in the Asia Pacific region (China, Japan, South Korea). Recovery has already been hampered in the market with Melbourne re-entering a hard lockdown from July 9.
Box office across the market since re-opening has been just over A$75 million – only 22.5% of the Australian 2020 total box office (A$333.7m) through to Sunday (Oct. 25). Australia is now tracking over 67% behind the same point in 2019.
After nearly four months back in lockdown Melbourne’s five million residents were able to emerge Wednesday (Oct. 28) but cinemas remain in limbo in the area. Drive-in cinemas will re-open this week and three open-air roof-top cinemas will be allowed to resume operation on November 2 with a 50-person capacity. However, despite bars and restaurants already re-opening and gyms allowed to follow from November 8, there is no firm plan in place for traditional indoor cinemas in Melbourne and regional Victoria state to follow.
Gower Street will feature an updated visualization of the North American release date changes on Monday (Nov. 2).