Senior audiences have been absent from cinemas because there haven’t been films for them to see and not because of the pandemic, a CinemaCon panel heard on Monday.
Jane Hastings, MD and CEO of Australian exhibitor EVT told attendees at the panel session ‘Globally Speaking: A Look At The Global Marketplace’ that post-pandemic recovery was down to the number and quality of films.
“Our seniors audience simply hasn’t had the films to see and that’s why they’re not coming,” said Hastings, adding: “They’re a regular audience. Our research shows that it is not Covid’s behaviour, but the lack of films to watch. “We need to give audiences a reason to come to the theaters,” said Tony Chambers, EVP of theatrical distribution for Disney. You can talk about the messaging “exclusively in theatres” and that’s fine, but we have to drive urgency to see it now, and we’ve got to ‘eventise’.”
The need to create the “must-see” factor, he said, was particularly critical with regard to smaller and medium-sized movies, which have been missing. “We as an industry need to support those movies to make sure we’re back up in terms of volume, but also to give audiences a choice,” he said.The Disney executive cited its Searchlight Pictures’ acclaimed dark comedy Banshees Of Inisherin
, which has grossed $38m internationally compared to $10m in the US.
“Maybe international audiences are more open to
Banshees, but there’s something missing in terms of the offering in the US compared to what you get internationally. Internationally there is that curated experience .”
Chambers praised A24 for what it had achieved with Everything Everywhere All AtOnce[in cinemas] and added, “If we don’t eventise these films producers will not be able to get them made.”
In terms of reaching out to audiences, Hastings said: “We have a very powerful direct-to-consumer link. We can find these audiences directly and encourage them to make films. He added that Disney does not pay for data.Hastings said EVT shares customer insights but not data. “It’s mutually beneficial to both sides to share those insights, but we monetise data.” Earlier in the session Chambers offered a broad recap of international trends. German box office was tracking above 2018 and 2019; France and Latin America were around 10% behind pre-Covid box office; South Korea and Italy have been slower to rebound from Covid; and local films were prospering in Japan and China while Hollywood films were “not cutting through”.Paramount’s Mark Viane upbeat in CinemaCon opener, urges industry not to be complacent