Vue International CEO Tim Richards has stated that despite the success of the recent film release "Barbienheimer," the UK cinema industry is still facing a significant supply issue, with fewer films being released compared to pre-pandemic levels.
In an interview on a daily podcast, Richards highlighted that there has been a 36% decrease in film releases last year and a 20% decrease this year, causing a prolonged recovery from the post-COVID
-19 cinema slump.
Richards noted that the current Hollywood actors' strike and writers' walkout is different from previous walkouts in 2007 and 2008, which lasted 100 days, and was not felt as the studios managed to release films.
However, he warned that if the current strike continues for a longer period, it could have a significant impact on the industry.
Despite the challenges facing the industry, Richards expressed optimism, highlighting the "amazing summer" with an "incredible selection of movies." The recent success of "Barbienheimer" resulted in the biggest weekend of cinema-going since before the pandemic, with advance bookings at Vue cinemas being the largest since the 2019 release of Avengers Endgame.
Richards also stated that the era of streaming services having a negative effect on cinema viewing is over, with streaming services having their "day in the sun" and declining in popularity.
The importance of the big screen experience for customers cannot be overstated, with nearly a fifth (23%) of Vue customers booking to see both "Barbienheimer" and "Oppenheimer" at the same time.
In conclusion, while the success of "Barbienheimer" is a positive sign for the industry, the UK cinema industry is still facing significant challenges, including a lack of film releases and the impact of the current Hollywood actors' strike and writers' walkout.
However, with the right strategies in place, the industry is poised for a strong future in the post-pandemic era.