This market insight provides an update on the impact of COVID-19 on the global cinema business (as at 22/4/20); discusses results from a return to cinemagoing survey in Germany, as well as distribution.

In Germany, a research study undertaken by S&L Research underlines the sense that cinemagoing will come back once the current situation is over. Of the people asked, 93 % said they were ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to go to the cinema once they are allowed, suggesting the pent-up demand that exhibitors are hoping for is there. This compares to 73% for gyms and 54% for sporting events, also highlighting how important cinemas are to people. The return may not be immediate though, as only 25% of the respondents said they would go back to the cinema ‘immediately after opening’ and a further 38% would go back ‘within a few weeks’. In total, that means that two thirds of the audience will be back within a few weeks. In comparison, 42% of respondents would go back to gyms immediately and a further 19% would wait a few weeks. For restaurants, the numbers are also encouraging (33% and 38% respectively).  The figures for sports events (12% and 17% respectively) and concerts (10% and 17%) were significantly worse.

In terms of the extra measures that will be needed to make the cinema a perceived safe place, 29% of the survey respondents would accept a higher price for the measures although 40% would refuse the higher price. The remaining 31% did not state an opinion. Over half (52%) said that a drive-in cinema would be a good substitute to a fixed building cinema.

The survey was conducted from April 9th ​- 14th by S&L Research on the survey portal www.moviepanel.de among 865 German cinema-goers aged 16 and over.

Netflix is to raise $1 billion in senior notes for ‘general corporate purposes’, which can include acquiring content. Netflix has also said it is now producing films in Iceland and South Korea, mainly because those two countries have rigorous testing procedures in place.

Warner Bros has moved the theatrical opening of the musical In The Heights to 18 June 2021, from its original 26 June 2020 opening. Warner has also moved Scoob! to a digital opening on PVOD and premium digital platforms on the same date as its theatrical release was planned, 15 May 2020. The children’s genre of titles is more suitable for early digital release, as was shown by Trolls World Tour, although most other titles are staying with theatrical releases to open. The title will not play in cinemas if there are any open at that time.

Sony’s superhero movie Venom: Let There Be Carnage is no longer opening on 2 October 2020 this year, having now moved to 25 June 2021.

Paramount’s Blue Story was released in UK last November but was scheduled for US release on 20 May 2020, but it is now moving straight onto digital platforms on 5 May 2020.