No time to worry: Everyman cinema group expects Bond to bring a further boost as it reveals strong rebound in admissions
- From 17 May to 1 July, attendances were at two-thirds of their pre-Covid levels
- Everyman said its ticket sales had exceeded forecasts since cinemas reopened
- Dune and Spiderman: No Way Home are also major releases coming out in 2021
Cinema chain Everyman saw admissions fall by two-thirds in the first half of the year as closures forced its premises to shut for 20 weeks.
But the company stated that attendance numbers had exceeded forecasts since its cinemas reopened in mid-May as audiences flocked to watch films like Oscar winner Nomadland and Marvel movie Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson.
From 17 May to the start of July, attendances were at two-thirds of their pre-Covid levels, while since the lifting of all capacity limits on 21 July to last week, admissions were just a fifth down on their levels in 2019.
Bond is back: The new James Bond film No Time To Die is expected to give Everyman a boost after a challenging 18 months that has seen its admissions plummet
The independent cinema operator expects a slew of upcoming releases, such as the James Bond film No Time To Die, which will be Daniel Craig’s last outing as the suave spy, will continue bringing crowds back in large numbers.
Other blockbusters coming out this year include science-fiction epic Dune, Spiderman: No Way Home, Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, and the fourth instalment of The Matrix franchise.
All these movies have had their release date delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, which forced film studios to suspend production and cinemas all over the world to temporarily close their doors.
Everyman shut its sites for 15 weeks in the first half of 2020. As a result, revenues plummeted by almost half to £7.7million, and ticket sales dropped by over 550,000.
On average, cinemagoers spent more on every movie ticket they bought and considerably more on food and drink, but overall sales from both these categories fell by 59 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively.
It also recorded a pre-tax loss of £8.9million, which was better than the £13.8million loss seen a year earlier and the £22.2million of losses at the full-year stage, but confirmed the impact on the group of coronavirus restrictions.
Quiet theatre: Everyman shut its sites for 15 weeks in the first half of 2020, but for the first 20 weeks of this year. As a result, revenues plummeted by almost half to £7.7million
Chief executive Alex Scrimgeour admitted the period was ‘challenging’ but said the ‘actions we took at the start of the pandemic and throughout have ensured we are now in a strong position to take advantage of the recovery.’
To bolster its finances, Everyman has taken advantage of the UK Government’s furlough scheme to pay its workers, the business rates holiday, business support grants, and the VAT reduction on leisure companies.
Scrimgeour added: ‘Despite some challenges remaining ahead, we are confident in our business model and that customers will continue to return to Everyman in ever-increasing numbers over time.
‘We have had significant support from all our key stakeholders for which we are very grateful. We remain confident in the Everyman brand and our ability to navigate out of recovery and back to growth.’
Expansion: Netflix’s £500million purchase of Roald Dahl’s back catalogue gives it control in how it adapts the children’ author’s books for use in films and television
All but one of the group’s 35 sites have been open since mid-May, and it is planning to add six more venues in 2021/22, followed by another the year after.
But cinema chains face increasing competition from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+, all of whom have attracted millions of new subscribers since the pandemic started.
These platforms have also promised to spend tens of billions a year making their own films and television series in the coming years.
Just yesterday, Netflix revealed it bought the back catalogue of children’s author Roald Dahl for an estimated £500million. The deal gives the California-based media giant control in how it adapts the author’s books for use in films and television.
Amazon is also trying to finalise the purchase of MGM, the movie studio behind the James Bond franchise. Should the deal take place, it could mean the next Bond film will initially be released online rather than in the cinema.
Shares in Everyman were up 5 per cent to £1.25 during the late morning today.