Oe have all heard the howls of beleaguered cinema operators across the UK. Cinema owners have complained at length in recent weeks that there was nothing to show. Thanks to Covid, almost every major Hollywood title – from the new Bond movie no time to die at Marvel Black Widow – is postponed until 2021. Cineworld, reeling under a mountain of debt, has closed for the time being, as has Picturehouse, the art house channel it owns. Many Odéon sites only open on weekends. And a quarter of Vue cinemas are now closed three days a week.
Powerful opinion pieces have looked at the alarming situation in which UK cinemas now find themselves. Industry insiders have called for sweeping reform. According to them, the company can no longer be so dependent on a handful of major American studio films. When this tap is closed, calamity ensues.
However, this is only part of the picture. “Crisis, what crisis? is the question many will be asking when they see the flurry of new movies coming out this week. At a time when the industry is supposed to be on its last legs, UK moviegoers have their pick of 20 new titles this weekend alone. Documentaries, musical films, horror images and animations are offered. You’d think the distributors would have communicated with each other and staggered their biggest releases – but the fact that it was both Halloween and midterm caused a sudden rush.