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Fewer films, even fewer spectators: 2020, a year to forget

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No one will be surprised to learn that the results of the 2020 cinema year are not good. The pandemic will indeed have forced the dark rooms to lower the curtain between March 16 and June 6, before a second closure that has been running since the beginning of November. “Almost all the indicators of the Swiss film industry fell very sharply in 2020 compared to the previous year”, summarizes a report unveiled on Tuesday by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), at a time when no relaxation is not scheduled before April 14.

About the extended closures: Cultural places: the hour is still silent

If the number of screenings fell by 49% over the past year, attendance has fallen by 65%. This is due to a limited supply, but also to a beautiful summer season which saw a semi-confined population enjoy outdoor recreation. A total of 283 new films were shown in Swiss cinemas. The most marked decline concerns American productions (–56%, for a total of 26 films); it is less marked for native films (–28%, 51 films). In total, there is a decrease in departures of 43%. Because while most of the big studios are waiting for better days and withholding their feature films with high added commercial value, the leaders of international auteur cinema are reluctant to attack the public without the showcase of the major festivals, in head that of Cannes.

Success for “The Children of Platzspitz”

In 2020, Swiss cinemas sold 4.3 million tickets, for revenues amounting to 67 million francs – against 12.5 million admissions and 193 million francs respectively in the 2019 financial year. The number of admissions is higher in French-speaking and Italian Switzerland (–70%) than in German-speaking Switzerland (–62%). On the Swiss production front, a good surprise with The Children of Platzspitz, by Fribourgeois Pierre Monnard, who attracted more than 330,000 spectators. Las, an operation shortly before the first closure in German-speaking Switzerland, and during the summer in French-speaking Switzerland, will have slowed down its box office score. In the world before, this moving family drama against the backdrop of an open drug scene in Zurich could have become one of the biggest successes in the history of Swiss cinema.

Read also: “The Children of Platzspitz”: never without my mother

Asked by the Swiss Telegraph Agency, Pierre Monnard said he was concerned about the future of cinemas: “The exhibitors are very affected. Spectator habits, which were already changing, have certainly taken a boost during this pandemic. I hope people will be very happy to return to the cinema, but there will nevertheless be a before and an after. ” But for now, even if Edna Epelbaum, president of the Swiss Cinematographic Association, admits to fearing that cinemas will remain permanently closed, their number has only slightly decreased. Only four theaters ceased their activities last year. At the same time, the FSO notes, the consumption of VOD (video on demand) has increased, with 36% of users now. Among those under 30, this breakthrough is more marked: they are now 57% to rent or buy films online.

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