There will (no doubt) be cinema at Christmas

And a merry Christmas to all. Tuesday, December 15, the signs of cinemas, closed since October 30, will come back on. Emmanuel Macron’s announcement was accompanied by an asterisk: “If the health objectives are achieved», In this case fixed around 5,000 contaminations per day and between 2,500 and 3,000 people in intensive care. The clause is not likely to weaken the relief of the excellent news celebrated by the profession after weeks of blind guesswork. “Where we are very happy is that culture, theaters and cinemas have been treated separately., rejoices Richard Patry, president of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), and that this closure will have lasted less than the first time, namely six weeks. Whether the conditions for the restart on December 15 are maintained will obviously depend on the evolution of the epidemic, but since the start, it’s like that. We are going to defend the films that were showing by re-exhibiting them massively.»

Before the president’s announcements, a dividing line more or less separated the independent cinemas, ready to reopen quickly, and the circuits, more dependent on guarantees of a reopening with strong films on display, as well as a 20-hour session that would not contravene a possible curfew. On this point, it’s won: cinema tickets and theater tickets will be taken as proof to allow spectators to return quietly after 9 p.m., in accordance with the request made by Roselyne Bachelot which had been rejected by Bruno Le Maire and Jean Castex at the time. of the first curfew. “I admit that everyone is in the excitement, rejoices Étienne Ollagnier, president of the Syndicate of Independent Distributors (SDI). Failing to be certain about the curves of the epidemic, we see them evolving in the right direction, and we have the means to reassure ourselves a little thanks to the strong support dynamic of the State and the CNC.»Also at the head of Jour2Fête, the distributor announces the release of the film Slalom from the Wednesday of the reopening, December 16. “We had announced this date a little by chance as early as October 28, thinking that we were going to pray for it to reopen before Christmas. It was a film normally dated November 4 for which work was more than started. The only thing that could hypothetically make us shift is the collective discussions with the union on the progress of the reopening.»

Peas

The SDI had initially pleaded for a reopening scheme on December 2 or 9: the idea was to provide a virtuous “white week” to films whose career had been cut short by the closure (some of which like ADN, Rag boy, A secret life, after only 3 days of operation), so as to re-release them without new titles taking the cover. The project has gone downhill, given the galloping arrival of the Christmas holidays accompanied by the economic challenges that we know, and the unexpected announcement of the global release (outside the United States) of Wonder Woman 1984 on December 16 by Warner, the first American heavyweight since Tenet in August. Conciliatory, Richard Patry assures that there will be room for everyone: “The offer will be less important than a classic December where fifteen films come out per week, we are far from the traffic jam and it is not Wonder Woman who will harm Rag boy and Goodbye idiots! We don’t want to build walls to protect films, they are strong enough for audiences to come back to see them.»

Also in the cast of the reopening, the new comedy by Quentin Dupieux Mandibles, will come out well “December 15 or 16, depending on what is possible“, Relishes Alexandre Mallet-Guy, the boss of Memento. “As the Tuches have shifted, we will be the comedy of the holidays! It is true that the clause of 5,000 cases is a sword of Damocles above our heads, but it is a risk that we have to take because we cannot date a film overnight.»

«The difference between reopening an ordinary store and that of a cinema is that it is not a question of removing the boxes of peas that were waiting on the shelf ”, confirms distributor Amel Lacombe, director of Eurozoom. Two of his films initially scheduled in November, Violet Evergarden and Little Zombies, are also candidates for an exit upon reopening, but “everything is not so simple». «The fine intentions expressed at the closing so that the canceled films find their place have apparently disappeared. When are we going to put these outings for which promotional measures have been taken? We are used as independents to squeeze in the holes, but there, Wonder Woman and last minute wild programming, we were made to understand that the hunt is on. And that we will have to make room for the cash drawer.“Between now and December 15, professional consultations will begin on Wednesday around the release schedule of the films that will baptize this deconfinement, second edition. No end of year celebrations without family reunions.


Sandra Onana

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