In a major sign of confidence in the future of theatrical moviegoing, Cineworld Group, the world’s second largest exhibitor and owner of Regal in the U.S., has secured significant additional liquidity that will help ensure its future despite ongoing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a new debt facility of $450M, while further operational measures will be implemented to deliver enhanced profitability over the long term. In total, measures announced today will deliver over $750M of extra liquidity to support the business, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said.Given the uncertainty of the duration of the COVID pandemic, Cineworld has worked with its financial advisors to plan for multiple scenarios. The base scenario assumes a reopening of cinemas no later than May 2021. Under this assumption, Cineworld says it has sufficient headroom for 2021 and beyond.
PVOD vs. Streaming Is the Real Battle for First-Run Movies — Not Theaters vs. Home
Some theater owners would like to cast these new precedents as COVID-era exception, but neither the AMC-Universal deal nor Cinemark’s willingness to play films with limited window would happen if theaters felt there was an alternative.
There’s another, more optimistic element that may also be in play. By addressing VOD head on, AMC and Cinemark are becoming active participants in its future. It also means they chose a side in a major battle, and it’s not theaters vs. studios. It’s VOD vs. streaming.
The VOD paradigm still gives primacy to theaters; by contrast, Disney’s priorities were reflected in the decision to release “Soul” on Disney+ Christmas Day.
Hulu lowered its subscription price to $1.99 per month for Black Friday
The $1.99-per-month deal applies to new customers who didn’t redeem Hulu’s 2019 Black Friday promo of the same markdown, as well as returning customers whose last subscription was cancelled over three months ago. While the marked-down plan includes ad breaks, those who want an ad-free streaming experience can upgrade to the $11.99-per-month No Ads subscription.
Thousands of movies are available too; recent additions to the Hulu library include Deadpool, Bombshell, and The Bourne Identity. Viewers can also catch the new Kristen Stewart rom-com, Happiest Season, as well 2020’s Oscars Best Picture winner Parasite.
Comcast-Owned Sky Signs Deal With eOne To Secure Access To Hundreds Of Movies
The deal will encompass nearly 200 titles from eOne’s library, such as the Twilight saga and Dallas Buyers Club, while new releases will also be carried exclusively by Sky. This includes upcoming titles like the holiday rom-com Happiest Season, starring Kristen Stewart, which has skipped theatrical release in the UK.Sky has seriously beefed up its content offering this year through deals with Disney, Sony, DreamWorks Animation, and Discovery. “Our deal with eOne is just another example of us listening to customers and bringing them more of what they want,” said Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s CEO UK and Europe.
‘Demon Slayer’ Overtakes ‘Frozen’ In Japan, Now Market’s 3rd Biggest Film Ever
The anime adaptation has now overtaken Frozen (25.5B yen) to become the No. 3 all-time biggest movie in the market. The next one to beat is Titanic, followed by Japan’s No. 1 film ever, Spirited Away (30.8B yen)….In terms of admissions, Demon Slayer sold nearly 19.4M tickets through Monday, placing it as the 4th most-attended film of all time in the market. That figure will continue to rise.
Cinemas In England Can Re-Open Next Week
Cinemas in England have been given the green light to re-open next week when a four-week country-wide lockdown comes to an end on December 2.Culture secretary Olive Dowden confirmed on Twitter that indoor performances will be allowed to resume with numbers capped at 1,000 and 50% venue capacity (whichever is lower), but this will be restricted in certain areas of the country…Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have their COVID restrictions implemented locally and are not part of this latest announcement.
France’s Cinemas To Reopen On December 15 As Lockdown Eases
Movie theaters in France will be allowed to reopen from December 15…A 9PM curfew will nevertheless be imposed for some time….Capacity limits will apply.Improvements were seen over time with October seeing 8.5M admissions for the best month in terms of ticket sales since cinemas reopened in June. That’s particularly notable since curfew orders were put in place in mid-October for Paris and several major French cities before the second lockdown was imposed. Overall, the market was down 62% through end-October versus the same period in 2019.
Creative Europe deputy head previews “recovery and transformation” action plan
Martin Dawson, deputy head of unit for MEDIA and the European Commission, told the European Film Forum on Monday that he had three ambitious goals for the next Creative Europe programme, which is due to begin in January 2021 with an increased budget of €2.2bn.
“The first is recovery, to help companies survive this economic storm, supporting liquidity and investment,” he said. “Secondly, transformation: building long-term resilience and competitiveness of the industry. Looking at how to collect our data, exploit our data, innovate technologically, look at emerging markets like virtual reality and building on our talent and creativity. Europe, we should never forget, has many assets and advantages, notably our unparalleled, unique diversity of culture, our technical knowhow.”
Amazon Prime Video To Stream ‘After We Collided’ In UK, France, Italy & Spain
Amazon has struck a deal to exclusively stream YA movie After We Collided on Prime Video in the UK, France, Italy and Spain.
UK, France and Italy will release from 22, December, followed by Spain on 1, January. The movie was released theatrically in most markets in September and October and was one of the few bright spots at the COVID-ravaged box office this year, taking close to $50M.The Amazon release in France is the film’s first release in that territory. Netflix will release the film stateside from December 22.