Colombia is the latest market to achieve the Stage 2 target of Gower Street’s Blueprint To Recovery as Latin America continues slow return.

Among the international box office regions, Latin America has been hardest hit by cinema closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Box office across the region is tracking 78% behind an average of the past three years! This compares to 60% in Asia Pacific (excluding China); 70% in China itself; and 66% across EMEA. Only the Domestic market (79% behind the average) has been harder hit.

Much of Latin America was already tracking well behind 2019 during Q1, ahead of closures which came in mid-March. With cases high across the region (Brazil has seen the third highest cases globally; three other countries – Mexico, Colombia and Argentina – have all recorded more than 1 million cases) cinemas have remained closed for a longer period than in many other markets.

Business has been returning slowly. Ecuador led the regional comeback, with leading exhibitor Supercines re-opening in early July. Mexico began its re-opening gradually, with Mexico City finally coming back in mid-August and Monterrey on Sept. 5. Both Mexico and Ecuador achieved the Stage 2 target of Gower Street’s Blueprint To Recovery (a single-day box office equivalent to the lowest grossing day of the past two years) on Sept. 5 – the first Latin American markets to do so. Brazil followed Oct. 24 and Panama Oct. 31.

This week it was Colombia’s turn. Colombia saw two thirds of cinemas closed by March 16 and all sites shut by March 21. Cinemas were allowed to re-open with significant restrictions from late August but few did so. Only this past weekend (Nov. 26-29) did Cinemark, Cinépolis and Royal Films sites begin their re-openings. This boosted the footprint of cinemas open in Colombia (measured by 2018-2019 market share) to 32%, having stood at just 7% a week earlier.

The exhibitor re-openings brought a trio of new movie openers with X-MEN spin-off THE NEW MUTANTS leading the way, backed up by THE WITCHES and BTS movie BREAK THE SILENCE. Updated figures for Saturday, from our partners at Comscore Movies, show that market hit its Stage 2 goal (Colombian Peso 289.4m) on Saturday, with a market gross of Colombian Peso 291.5 million ($81k). This was then superceded by Sunday’s box office of Colombian Peso 347.0 million ($96k).

THE NEW MUTANTS had also headed business in Mexico and Brazil when they hit their Stage 2 goals. SCOOB! was Ecuador’s lead for the Stage 2 achievement, while Panama hit it with TENET’s opening.

The footprint of cinemas open by market share across Latin America is now 64% (see regional Growth Trackers for the latest weekend below), up from 61% a week ago. That number stood at just 23% at the end of August when TENET opened in many international markets; and 43% at the start of October when the market share of global cinemas open hit it’s highest post-lockdown level (79%). Argentina, Chile and Peru are yet to comeback.