“Simply black”, the output that will boost the inputs?

More than a fortnight after the rooms reopened, that is an understatement to say that Simply black timely to reinvigorate cinema attendance – honorable, with nearly a million admissions sold the first week, without being twirling, when we know that the month of June 2019 recorded the score of 12.4 million starters. Neither action film nor big American comedy will overshadow it at the start of this soft summer. The artillery of the Hollywood studios is generally absent from the poster this season, hostage to an industry paralyzed by the epidemic in the United States, or postponed to mid-August for the mounted parts Mulan (Disney) and Tenet (de Christopher Nolan).

“Wonderful playing card”

Besides the sense of political timing that coincidentally accompanies its release, Simply black comes forward as a promise for cinema exhibitors in the throes of “carrier” films, quick to unite a large audience who would thus find their way to theaters and absorb their losses.

The comedy has been surrounded by a very favorable buzz since the national operators’ conference, where it was presented in September. “If we had asked the 2,500 exhibitors and distributors present for the extracts that had most marked them, I am 100% certain that he would have won the votes, assures us Richard Patry, president of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF). The film has a wonderful card to play. In a world where American cinema has deserted us, I hope it will be one of the lifelines of the coming weeks. ”

With what potential spectators? Responded by Libé, the distributor, Gaumont, does not venture to quantify it: “The market is not the same as before the containment and we don’t know how the public will behave”, recalls the group’s general manager, Sidonie Dumas. Originally dated April 15, the film had been reprogrammed to July 8 from the start of containment. “We decided to hold this date because it is a very successful, popular film, which is likely to encourage the public to return.”

The stakes are high for multiplexes: new products for the general public do not jostle at the gate – only the comedy by Michaël Youn Divorce Club, expected on July 14, raises similar hopes. “Bringing back the occasional spectators is more difficult than finding the already loyal customers of local cinemas”, Richard Patry also points out.

Since the reopening, neither the perfumes neither the ghosts on the bill De Gaulle or the good wife did not move the crowds of people under 25: a population more naturally concerned by Simply black and its cast of youthful idols, from Fary to Soprano. The Kinepolis group, which operates the largest cinema in France in number of seats in Lille, recognizes that its sites in regions severely affected by the virus could well benefit from a boost in attendance. «Simply black is the first big release that enters the typology of films that we usually program, welcomes the programmer Patrice Prat. We are looking forward to it very firmly. ”

500 copies

Much in demand by exhibitors who wish to program the film, Gaumont is announcing for the time being an exit plan for the reservoir, with 500 copies in circulation for the national release, far from the thousand screens occupied by a De Gaulle or the good wife to their revival. “Comedy is an object that must be treated with care”, considers Sidonie Dumas, who has not scheduled any previews: the tour of the teams on the territory will be organized concomitantly at the exit.

In Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis), the associative cinema the Studio hopes to offer a debate with the directors around the film. The poster appears on the cover of his program. “We are an activist cinema, claims the programmer, Peggy Vallet. The subjects of society and representation tackled by the film, whose cast is made up of black comedians and comedians, are at the heart of our programming project. ” Simply black presents itself thus facing a boulevard: all hopes seem to be allowed.


Sandra Onana

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