Movie theaters in Mexico have not yet managed to recover the capacity they had before the pandemic. Although movie theaters are already operating without restrictions, some still look empty a little over a year after they reopened their doors, after months of confinement. The reason? Some consumers talk about or prefer to watch a movie via streaming before going to the cinema.
“It’s not that I’m distrustful (going to the movies) because of the pandemic, it’s because going out is already more expensive and I got used to watching movies at home,” says Antonio Rocha, while buying some tickets to enter Cinépolis Puerta Tlatelolco.
The price of tickets has increased 6% in the last year (July 2021 to July 2022), according to data from the Inegi Consumer Price Index (IPC). Although the increase is still below general inflation, which in the same period amounts to 8.15%, the rise in prices of other products and services has reduced the purchasing power of consumers.
“I only come (to the cinema) when there is a movie that we really want to see,” adds Rocha.
Summer is usually a good time for movie chains, as there are a large number of premieres that coincide with a vacation period for schools in the country. This dynamic, however, changed during 2020 and networks are now trying to bring it back with promotions and blockbuster releases.
So far, the highest attendance spikes have been recorded during the opening weekends of some titles.
In these months, theaters have had several blockbuster releases, including Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions: a villain is born . The first brought 4.9 million people to the cinema, the second had 4.8 million viewers, which exceeded the average number of attendees per premiere of 2019, which was 4.5 million.
The premiere Thor: love and thunder had 5.3 million viewers the weekend of its release, according to the latest data from Canacine.
Tábata Vilar Villa, director of Canacine, commented last month that June was already a month similar to 2019, and that the sector expected to maintain the dynamism in admissions in the second half of the year.
Until last June 1, box office revenues totaled 5,447 million pesos, which is close to 7,459 million for all of 2021. However, the number is still below the levels of 2019, when the industry generated 19,050 million pesos.
“But there are good prospects for 2022 to end up being a good year,” Rivera said.
“We are not yet at the level of 2019, because it was a record year, it was the year with the highest attendance in the recent history of cinema in Mexico, but we are satisfied with what the summer has left,” said Miguel Rivera, programming director of Cinépolis, at a conference last week.
The streaming revolution
For the second half of the year, premieres such as Liga de Supermascotas , Bullet Train , starring Brad Pitt, Avatar 2 and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever , in which the Mexican Tenoch Huerta appears, are expected to arrive on the screen, to mention a few titles. .
Despite the optimism that the summer has brought to networks, the number of films released, capacity and sales are still below pre-pandemic levels. The industry is likely not the same as it was before Covid-19 hit and streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime and Disney+ captured the market.
A study on movies and series on streaming platforms, commissioned from the French market research firm IFOP, showed that, after subscribing to a streaming platform, 29% of respondents said they went to the cinema “less often”. and 12% who “no longer went”. The majority (54%) continue to go “at the same rate” and only 5% “more often”. This shows that video on demand is “a serious competitor for movie attendance.”
Even so, Javier Reyes, director of programming and content at Cinemex, said last week that the chain expects to close the summer with a capacity equivalent to 70% of that registered in the summer of 2019, without revealing its projections for the end of 2022.
“We are looking to reach the levels of 2019, which was a historic year. Our bar is very high, but we are seeking to overcome these indicators”, he concluded.