Cinema halls in entrance of platforms: is battle or coexistence? | Culture | EUROtoday

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On Friday, in his X account, Juan Antonio Bayona celebrated that The Snow Society had exceeded 500,000 spectators in theaters. A spectacular determine for a movie that has been obtainable since January 4 on Netflix (the platform that produced it) and that Yelmo and Cinesa, the 2 largest movie show chains in Spain, have refused to launch.

In his profession on the Oscars, during which he’s nominated in two classes, Bayona has thanked and inspired each the audiences within the film theaters and on the platform. This Saturday he known as a world occasion at 9 at night time (Spanish peninsular time) to see his movie on a watch social gathering on Netflix: whoever signed up for that viewing would have entry to feedback from the workforce and the survivors on whose true story the movie relies, who would even be related stay, and to unpublished materials. And the extra the merrier… for the service of streaming. The Snow Society occupies, based on rating of Netflix's hottest non-English-speaking movies – up to date on February 18 -, second place after Trol. It has 89.2 million views and 217 million hours of consumption (right here it beats Trol, however as a result of the Norwegian one is shorter), a listing that takes under consideration solely the primary 91 days during which the movie has been obtainable.

Actually, The Snow Society It is the exception that proves the rule: massive chains don’t wish to launch movies that may quickly find yourself on digital platforms. Luis Gil, basic director of the Federation of Cinemas of Spain (FECE), which represents greater than 80% of businessmen within the sector, explains: “We assume and understand that platforms are here to stay and we hope that they are complementary to theaters. cinema”. And he goes beyond the financial: “A film that is released in theaters has a first exploitation that not only provides an economic return, but also has a social and cultural media impact. And that does not have to clash or compete with the film itself continuing its exploitation process in other windows. There is no reason to enter into a war, but rather we must be complementary. “We are all part of a film development chain.”

But the war is real. Both Yelmo and Cinesa have refused to respond to EL PAÍS's questions for this report. “The pandemic accelerated certain pernicious policies, and the rooms became a laboratory of strategies for a fight that even occurs between the platforms themselves,” says Gil. “We do not understand the strategies of not releasing in theaters. “It makes us uncomfortable that the Spanish Oscar candidate instrumentalizes cinemas for specific pursuits, and that some platforms solely launch merchandise on the massive display screen to qualify for awards.” He goes further: “Films are made, and so their creators say, to be seen on the big screen.”

As the cinema law has remained halfway through its parliamentary process, FECE hopes that exhibition windows will be protected in some way: in Spain, theaters ask for 112 days of exclusivity before moving to DVD, platforms or pay television. “We have asked the new minister to regulate this.” In 2022 only 21% of the premieres respected those 16 weeks. “It is not fair to have a release whose poster already announces that in three weeks you will see it digitally. We ask for about 90 days, understanding that each premiere is different. We are the last and weakest link in this cinematographic chain, the platforms are now very powerful and use their strength,” explains Gil.

The latest example came this past Friday with the documentary You are not alone: ​​the fight against La Manada, which has reached a handful of theaters with a poster announcing that next Friday, March 1, it will be available on Netflix. On this platform they are clear and in writing they respond to a questionnaire: “Every year we bring films to theaters, about 30. We respect the business model of theaters, ours is simply different, we are a subscription company and we offer our members exclusive movies on Netflix.” And regarding this theater/platform combination, they insist: “Our release plans are adapted to each film. The theaters are important for some filmmakers and/or are a requirement for some festivals and awards.” Apple TV, which this season has released one of its most talked-about titles in theaters, The assassins of the moon, by Martin Scorsese, He has also refused to respond to EL PAÍS.

In Spain, according to December data from the National Securities Market Commission, 35.8% of households access a content payment platform online; 25.9% use two; 18.6%, three, and 19.7%, four or more. In summary, two out of every three households access at least one web platform, and Netflix is ​​the preferred one in four out of ten homes, followed by Amazon Prime Video (22%) and Movistar+ (13%).

Cinemas of the Cinesa chain in Madrid last May.
Cinemas of the Cinesa chain in Madrid last May.Claudio Alvarez

Adolfo Blanco, executive director of the production and distribution company A Contracorriente Films and the Verdi theaters, distributed in 2018 Roma, by Alfonso Cuarón, Netflix's first major release in theaters. “We study each film, and if we think it will attract our audience, we program it. From Roma Here, time has confirmed our steps. In this industry, the one who has the upper hand is the exhibitor, and if a film doesn't work, they mercilessly take it away from you.” And how has it been The Snow Society? “In our rooms in Barcelona there have been even queues. It is a disgrace that extra networks haven’t opted for it.” And he emphasizes: “Netflix entered like an elephant in a china shop, betting on home cinema, and I understand that those beginnings hurt some exhibitors. Today it is a completely different company.” He ends: “The end of the pandemic has altered the policy of other platforms more, such as Disney +, which has rushed back to theaters, than that of Netflix, which has had a more fluid evolution.”

Film analyst Pau Brunet explains from Los Angeles: “This battle between theaters and platforms also occurs in the US. Netflix has already stressed that it is not going to change its mode of operation, “They are not going to renegotiate with the cinemas.” Brunet delves into the fact that each platform is different: “The main business of Amazon or Apple is not cinema, nor even user loyalty, as is the case with Netflix. Behind Netflix there is no financial muscle that can withstand failures; “Behind Apple TV and Prime Video there are two economic monsters.” How way more would you’ve got raised? The Snow Society If I had had a medium launch? “Surely more. But be careful, just because it goes to more screens does not mean that the box office will grow exponentially. Netflix invested heavily in the launch, for example. And Bayona has dedicated itself to its promotion.”

Without these platforms, neither Scorsese nor Bayona would have raised the financing for his or her movies (based on unofficial estimates, The Snow Society It has price about 60 million euros, and the Ministry of Culture database reveals that 90% was placed on by Netflix USA). Or Paula Ortiz, with Prime Video, her strategy to the historic character of Hildegart Rodríguez; or Icíar Bollaín, Alejandro Amenábar, Alberto Rodríguez, Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Oliver Laxe, who will movie this yr with the bulk manufacturing of Movistar+, wouldn’t have an financial foundation for his or her new tasks.

Lily Gladstone and Martin Scorsese, on the set of 'Killers on the Moon'.
Lily Gladstone and Martin Scorsese, on the set of 'Killers on the Moon'.MELINDA SUE GORDON / APPLE TV+.

This Saturday, Bayona defined: “After a decade trying to raise financing through traditional exhibition windows, we reached a production agreement with Netflix. In that agreement we made its release in movie theaters essential. And the platform agreed, and in its premiere on the big screen it significantly increased both the weeks of local exclusivity and the number of screens on which it would be projected. “It was three weeks and 110 theaters, just at Christmas, when film consumption was enormous.” The filmmaker, four-time winner of the Goya for best director, reflects: “I have promoted it in all formats. It has been an impressive success on the platform, they estimate that it has achieved about 200 million viewers. And at the same time I have accompanied the film in theaters, presenting the film alone or with actors wherever I could: Zaragoza, Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona… Every week I have been in a city. And the result seems great to me considering that it is a limited release, and it has remained among the ten most viewed after 11 weeks in theaters.”

Slow restoration

According to the ministry's figures, which lag behind the data from Bayonne, The Snow Society It has amassed 3.1 million euros and 465,429 spectators. Since Netflix refuses to supply extra knowledge, the monetary profession of the movie has by no means been mirrored within the weekly listing of the prime 20 on the Spanish field workplace compiled by the ComScore auditor. Although with these quantities it will most likely nonetheless seem in that rating. This weekly listing additionally serves as a primary approximation to a painful truth: the field workplace of Spanish film theaters has not but recovered from the catastrophe of the pandemic. In 2023, Spanish theaters grossed 487.5 million euros with 74.9 million tickets bought. It is 26% greater than in 2022 (360 million), however removed from the final pre-pandemic yr, 2019, when it reached 624 million.

The actor Enzo Vogrincic and Juan Antonio Bayona, on the filming of 'The Snow Society'.
The actor Enzo Vogrincic and Juan Antonio Bayona, on the filming of 'The Snow Society'.WHO LIVES (Netflix)

Pau Brunet explains in regards to the success of The Snow Society: “The film found great resonance only after the release on the platform on January 4. The theatrical release 20 days earlier achieved a minor echo, very cinephile.” The movie has by no means been on greater than 120 screens, of the three,591 which might be energetic in 751 cinema complexes (half had been grouped in Andalusia, Catalonia and the Community of Madrid), based on the newest knowledge from 2023. An common premiere, of the that are among the many ten highest grossers, is launched in a minimum of 200 theaters. In December, the Government allotted 12.8 million euros to help to theaters with the goal of “promoting their activity, a determining factor for the film sector; and, on the other hand, facilitate access to a cinematographic culture that is as diverse as possible.”

In the remainder of Europe there are territories the place native attendance has recovered like that of 2020, and others which might be going by means of, like Spain, their specific journey by means of the desert. According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, the mixed field workplace of the nations of the Council of Europe (besides Azerbaijan) in 2023 totaled 859 million tickets, 18.1% greater than final yr, however nonetheless removed from the 1,110 million tickets of 2019. Added to the pandemic had been delays in releases pressured by strikes by Hollywood performers and scriptwriters. If the vary is specified within the Europe of 27, the restoration is bigger, 22.8% in comparison with 2022 and reaches 661 million tickets. Countries like France (which can be the European nation during which essentially the most tickets are bought, 180.8 million final yr), Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Georgia have already reached the 2019 figures or are about to take action.

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