France’s Cinema Festival, La Fête du Cinéma, is to return this year for its 36th edition, with all cinema screenings costing just 4 euros from 30 June to 4 July. The annual festival comes at just the right time, as the culture sector emerges from seven months of crippling Covid closures.
“After all we’ve been through, let’s change the atmosphere to celebrate again and dream together… at the cinema!” The trailer for La Fête du Cinéma is clear: the 2021 edition takes on a particular importance after more than seven months of closed cinemas because of the coronavirus epidemic.
A month ago, when cinemas reopened for the first time since October 2020, the French rushed in: more than 2 million spectators in one week, thanks to re-releases such as Adieu les cons or ADN, or new releases like Demon Slayer – and all this with capacity limited to 35 percent.
Though audiences dropped by 60 percent the following week, the enthusiasm of the cinema-starved public remained, as seen since 9 June, when capacity at indoor venues was increased to 65 percent.
Florian Zeller’s The Father has exceeded 400,000 admissions in three weeks, Adieu les cons is close to 2 million. And Cruella, released on 23 June, attracted more than 300,000 spectators in five days.
Better still, the weekend of 20 June saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels – surprising figures, even compared to the movie mad United States.
On 24 June, Comscore, the reference site for worldwide cinema attendance figures, devoted a long article to “The spectacular box-office recovery in France“.
The report notes the importance of the teenage audience. Among films doing the best in France are mangas (nearly a million admissions for Demon Slayer) and horror films (1.5 million for Conjuring 3 and 400,000 for Without a Sound 2 in just two weeks), two genres that are very popular with teenagers.
“The recovery has gone very well. The real French passion for cinema has been reaffirmed”, said Eric Marti, from Comscore France.
According to professionals, the figures bode well for the rest of the summer.