As movie theaters suffer from streaming, new boom in arthouse films – The Hollywood Reporter


The eve of the Oscars brought bad news for an already struggling film company The Toronto Film Festival exhibition giant and royal owner Cineworld Group have passed on Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The world’s second largest cinema chain, London-based Cineworld operates in 10 countries with 747 theaters and over 9,000 screens worldwide. In addition to the Regal cinema chain, its subsidiaries include UK theaters Cineworld Picturehouse. The COVID-19 pandemic has avoided Cineworld It’s the toughest of all the major movie theater chains. The Group posted a loss of $3 billion in 2020 and another pre-tax loss of $708 million in the prior year. He also had more than $4.8 billion in net debt.

The closure of a major movie theater is another sign of the growing importance of this problem. “death of cinema” The dominant storytelling theme was established during the COVID-19 cinema closure. Many predicted that the traditional film exhibition business would disappear. Despite The big is back International Film Festivals—Cannes, Venice Now! Toronto – the theater industry has yet to fully rebound.

“Unfortunately at the moment there is a narrative that there is not much to see and the cinemas are dying”, Not a Brit A cinema manager who works in a small chain without any connection with theatres. Cineworld. “I think even a really good movie is going to have a hard time breaking through that.”

Theatrical Revenue North America Box office analysts put the annual figure at $5.32 trillion. ComscoreWhile this is a remarkable 94% increase from 2021, it still lags the same period in 2019 before the pandemic (when revenue was $7.25 billion), by 30%. This summer’s box office success of the studio tall masts has prompted many to follow their lead, including Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick Warner Bros.’ Elviswas a bit better with a 21.6% drop to $3.4 billion, from $4.3 billion in 2019. But for independent films, which are the type of TIFF cinema and all celebrate, hits are few and far between.

A24 Everything everywhere all at onceIt generated $68 million in movie revenue. North America to date, is the only independently released film so far this year to crack the top 30 at the domestic box office. Even though, the studio-owned indie divisions struggled to find the hits. Sony-owned Crunchyroll we’ve had a lot of success with anime titles Dragon Ball Super: Super heroes (35 million domestic dollars). Jujutsu Kaisen 0: The Movie ($34.5 million), as in Universal’s Focus Features With Downton AbbeyA new era ($44 million) The man from the north ($34 million).

But alongside the disaster stories, there is an explosion of feature film production, especially of the arthouse variety.

“We made seven films last year, and we’re making 36 this year,” says Andrea Scrosati, COO of independent production group Fremantle, which is owned by boutique film companies. Photos of the Irish element (The favourite, Bedroom) and The Apartment based in Rome (The Hand is God). “The reason is that there are now many other ways to finance and monetize these films.”

For all bones, Luca Guadagnino’s “cannibalistic love story” with Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell, which premiered in competition at Venice, Fremantle’s The Apartment was produced alongside Guadagnino’s Frenesy Film Company, with the channel of European pay-TV Sky, owned by Comcast, which provided additional funding. After the film was shot, it was sold to MGM, which handles worldwide distribution. For The Eternal Daughterthe Venice competition title by Joanna Hogg, starring Tilda Swinton, Fremantle’s Element produced in conjunction with BBC Films and A24, with A24 handling both US distribution and worldwide sales.

The range of new funding and new distribution models for feature films, says Scrosati, “means we can take much bigger turns, with projects that previously might not have felt commercial enough.”

The main reason for this change, of course, is streaming. Netflix has invested heavily in arthouse content – see Noah Baumbach’s White noiseby Alejandro González Iñárritu bardo at Andrew Dominick Blond in Venice TIFF titles swimmers by director Sally El Hosaini, by Tyler Perry The blues of a jazzman or German war drama In the west, nothing is new — and other platforms are following suit. The result is a new revenue stream and distribution route for movies that live or die by their theatrical box office.

“I’m just very happy to open the festival with a film by Sally El Hosaini, I think. swimmers is one of the best movies of the year,” said TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. “The fact that it’s coming to us from Netflix just reflects where the film industry is at. [right now].”

Netflix isn’t alone in finding value in international arthouse. Amazon Prime backed Santiago Miter’s Venice competition title Argentina, 1985, MUBI, an arthouse streamer, has secured the North American rights to Park Chan-wook’s Decision to leave That was shortly before its Cannes debut, where the mystery thriller won Best Director. Many, if not most, of the films screened at TIFF this year won’t make it to a theater near you but, thanks to so-called ‘cinema killers’, they’re becoming more visible and making a difference.

“There is a lot of [streamers] now making movies that are really high enough in quality to deserve a play at major film festivals, that’s the world we’re in,” says Bailey. “It is evolving and will continue to evolve, but the industry has never stopped evolving. They’ve always adapted to current conditions and found new ways to deliver great movies to audiences, and that’s what’s happening here.

Etan Vlessing in Toronto You contributed to this report.

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