EconomyFinancialThe Minions and Jurassic Park give theaters a break,...

The Minions and Jurassic Park give theaters a break, but not enough to recover from COVID-19

After living its own horror story, summer arrives in movie theaters in Mexico and, with it, several premieres that aim to be a recovery season that will continue until the end of the year, predicts the National Chamber of Industry Cinematographic (Canacine).

Since June the recovery of the box office is visible. The premieres of films such as “Jurassic World: Dominion” and “Minions: A Villain Is Born” marked the beginning of the recovery of the industry during the weekend of its premieres. While 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 in 2019, which was 4.5 million, according to data from Canacine. A more recent case was that of ‘Thor: love and thunder’, which last weekend had 5.3 million viewers.

Tábata Vilar Villa, director of Canacine, projects that the trend will continue. However, towards the end of the year, the low influx in the first months of the year will be an obstacle for the industry to declare a full recovery from the crisis caused by the closure of economic activities during the 2020 confinement.

“June has been a month in which the box office is behaving in the same way as before the pandemic. Unfortunately, the rest of the year, especially January and February, we were far away and that will surely affect us in the count for the whole year”, explains Vilar Villa.

Until last June 1, box office revenues totaled 5,447 million pesos, which reduced the gap compared to 7,459 million for all of 2021, with which sales are 71% below the levels of 2019 , when the industry generated 19,050 million pesos.

So far this year, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ has been the most successful film, since in its 10 weeks on display it raised 827 million pesos. ‘Jurassic World Domain’ is in second place, with a box office of 806 million in its six weeks in theaters. These tapes were followed by ‘The Batman’ , which generated 635 million in sales during its 12-week run.

With the premieres to come, optimism remains. For the second half of the year, big blockbusters such as ‘League of Superpets’ , ‘Bullet Train’ , starring Brad Pitt , ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ , in which he appears the Mexican Tenoch Huerta , to mention a few titles.

“There are quite a few franchises and that guarantees a box office because they are not characters or stories unknown to the public, which require a great marketing effort so that people know what it is about. (The spectators) already have a knowledge of a brand and it is much easier to take people to the cinema when it comes to these franchises ”, considers the director of Canacine.

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, some film releases have been on hold, and for Julian Fernández, director of analysis at Bursamérica, the chains must rethink their financial strategies. “It is not only the issue of generating income, selling tickets and keeping companies open. If tickets are not recovered in 2022, companies are going to start to confine their operating circle more and reengineer with the closure of the rooms with the lowest performance, ”he says.

The ghost of inflation

Even with signs of recovery, movie theaters are threatened by two villains: the fifth wave of COVID-19 in Mexico and inflation. Regarding infections, which have rebounded in recent weeks in Mexico, the director of Canacine trusts the health protocols of the complexes, which range from the disinfection of the rooms to the use of face masks.

Meanwhile, inflation hardens and during June the national average of a movie ticket was priced at 69 pesos, although the costs vary by area. While in Monterrey the lowest price was 30 pesos, in a cinema in Mexico City it was up to 203 pesos , according to Inegi data.

For the director of Canacine, the absence of a generalized price for admission to the cinema and its differentiation by geographical area opens the opportunity for people to access the cinema and not see it as an “expensive” activity.

For now, the increase in prices that the world is experiencing, and to which Mexico is no stranger, is taking its toll on the industry. Given this environment, the chains that operate in the country offer discounts and promotions at the box office and candy store to mitigate its effects.

“For 10 years the price of the ticket had not been raised and it had not been updated for inflation. Right now they can no longer not raise prices, and the issue of COVID-19 has increased air conditioning costs . The protocols have made the operation of the cinema have a high cost and this has made it inevitable to raise prices”, he declares.

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