There’s Still Tomorrow

Source: Vision Distribution

‘There’s Still Tomorrow’

Vue International is planning a further shift into non-English language direct distribution following the release of black-and-white Italian comedy drama There’s Still Tomorrow, according to CEO Tim Richards.

”We’re going to start bringing in Polish films, German films, Dutch films and Danish films as well,” said Richards, talking today at The Leisure Property Forum held at the Vue West End in London. ”We know there’s a market here, particularly this year when there are fewer films being released.”

Actor Paola Cortellesi’s directorial debut There’s Still Tomorrow proved a smash hit in its native Italy, where it was released by Vision Distribution, taking €36.6m as of March, and was the top performing film of 2023 in the territory ahead of Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Vue has picked up the film for UK and Ireland distribution, and will release at 92 Vue sites on April 26. Excluding event cinema and pre-school releases, it is the first time the cinema chain has directly distributed a title. Vue has 92 cinemas in the UK and Ireland and also operates across Europe and in Taiwan.

“We know there’s an audience that want to see it in the UK, we thought we’d bring it in. We’re going to start doing that with more films from more of our markets.”

The forum panel, which also featured Sunil Suri, director at Reel Cinemas, Paul John Anderson, director at Omniplex Cinema Group, and Charlotte Jones, an analyst at tech research company Omdia, was upbeat following a buzzy CinemaCon, the annual exhibitors’ convention that took place in Las Vegas earlier this month.

Richards described the mood as “really bullish” at CinemaCon with all the US studios having “made a commitment to feature film production that I’ve never seen before”. 

He said he was also buoyed by the interest of streamers in theatrical releases and longer release windows, apart from Netflix, which remains reluctant to actively engage in theatrical distribution. “We’ve tried really hard with Netflix, and we don’t care anymore, because they’re an outlier,” he said.

Anderson said he was not sure if there is a “banger” of the level of Barbie coming to cinemas any time soon. However, Sunil noted that the “middle market is strong if the content is there” with encouraging signs of appetite outside of tentpoles, pointing towards the success of One Life (£9.8m), Bob Marley: One Love (£17m) and Back To Black (£2.7m after opening weekend, April 12-14) as “bringing in an audience we haven’t seen for a little while”. 

Jones added that 2023 was the first time in 25 years that the top three best performing titles at the global box office were not sequels, although did draw on existing IP – Barbie, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Oppenheimer.

Premium push

A hot topic among exhibitors is that of a shift towards venues opting for a premium audience experience with a heftier price tag, with a trend towards having fewer seats, but with a reclining function.

“Recliner seats are gamechanging,” said Richards.

“We won’t look at sites with standard seats anymore. We’ll only install recliners,” added Anderson, whose Ireland-based company bought up a raft of Empire cinemas in the UK after the Empire chain entered administration in July.

Sunil, whose Reel Cinemas chain has 16 sites across the UK and also operates as a landlord to some Odeon, Vue and Everyman sites, added: “Recliners work, but it’s not the sole answer,” he said. “It’s really important to give the consumer choice as well. We operate a lot of places where there is mixed level of affluence, and charging £15 plus a ticket isn’t going to work. Premiumisation is part of the answer, but it’s obviously about how you engage, about your programming, the whole offer.”