French flock back to cinemas as doors reopen after lockdown

French flock back to cinemas as doors reopen after lockdown
Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP
Silver-screen starved cinema lovers in France rushed back to theatres for their long-awaited hit of movie magic as soon as the doors reopened last week, figures show.

Some 300,000 people went to see a film on Wednesday, May 19th, the day easing Covid-19 restrictions in France allowed cinemas to open up again for the first time in months. 

That’s the same number of cinema goers as a normal Wednesday in France – even with the strict health rules the limit the number of people allowed in each screening.

The following day, 150,000 more moviegoers enjoyed a film where they were intended to be seen – equal to 70 percent of admissions on a pre-Covid Thursday in the same period in 2019.

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These early figures are impressive, given current restrictions on the number of people permitted in auditoriums – only one seat in three can be occupied – and the 9pm curfew, which rules out popular evening screenings. 

Cinema chains are understandably hoping that the trend continues – but with a number of Oscar-winners up for release in France in the coming weeks, including The Father, on May 26th, and Nomadland, on June 9th, they perhaps have good reason to be optimistic.

Albert Dupontel’s César-winning Adieu les cons – which was in cinemas before lockdown – did well on its return to the big screens, with nearly 63,000 viewers last Wednesday, according to official figures, while teen Manga Demon Slayer drew 58,500 visitors.

And, with the Cannes film festival set to sprinkle its cinematic glamour in July this year, rather than its more usual May slot in the annual glitz calendar, and the annual la Fête du cinéma set to run from June 30th to July 4th, the immediate future looks bright for French movie lovers.



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