Art house releases struggling to reach audiences post-pandemic

A cinema with taped off chairs for social distancing
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The art house cinema industry is in crisis with box office levels continuing to fall far below pre-pandemic levels.

The European art house industry is in a concerning state at the moment, with box office levels having failed to recover following the global pandemic. Meanwhile, as both Europe and the UK deal with the ongoing economic shockwaves, inflation has pushed the price of filmmaking ever higher.

Recent research, put together by Screen Daily has pointed to the fact that art house releases need much longer theatrical runs than they are currently getting, with evidence suggesting that such films benefit from word of mouth to build slowly. Data suggests that fewer screenings per week but over a longer period of time is a better release strategy, as lots of art house films tend to maximise their earning potential during their eighth week of release.

However, when you factor in all of the other trends that conflict with this, such as streamers seeking to shorten theatrical windows and cash-strapped cinemas keen to keep pushing ‘new’ films, the art house industry is struggling to gain the conditions it needs to find a foothold in the market. All following a precipitous fall in earnings during the pandemic.

Of course, that tumultuous period also marked a shift in viewing habits where audiences became used to watching ‘smaller’ films on a smaller screen, and whilst the blockbuster industry has found some success in persuading audiences to return to cinemas, the art house sector across the UK and Europe continues to struggle.

Whilst various plans are being hatched to find and develop the projects from across the continent that hold the most potential, the overall outlook for the industry continues to be somewhat worrying. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more, and here’s hoping for more positive news.

Image: BigStock

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