Cinema Ticket Sales Spike Amidst Omicron Fears

Might cinemas survive the worst of Omicron? Ticket sales remain healthy, as Covid fears bubble right back up.

Cinema box office

Might cinemas survive the worst of Omicron? Ticket sales remain healthy, as Covid fears bubble right back up.

Spider-Man No Way Home

You know the drill by now: a new variant of concern, Boris Johnson drags himself through a hedge to do one of his freewheeling press conferences, and industries are left worried that their business is about to dry up again.

Much is still to be learned about the Omicron variant of Covid-19, with more detailed information of its impact due over the next week or two. But what appears to be different so far is the reveal of a new variant isn’t dampening people’s appetite for cinema.

Of course, the UK government hasn’t mandated any lockdowns this time around, nor is mask-wearing a mandatory requirement in cinemas. Confidence had been returning to the industry off the back of bumper cinema admissions in October, and a regular flow of big films to attract people to moviehouses.

Whilst it’s still early days where Omicron is concerned, December has some massive films that seem to be instilling confidence in the exhibition industry. Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story lands next week, and then there’s Spider-Man: No Way Home the week after. For good measure, we also get The Matrix: Resurrections before the month is out.

Cinemas reopening

The signs thus far are positive. Word from the US is that the new Spider-Man film – which closes off a trilogy of sorts – is selling tickets at Avengers­-size levels so far. It’s expected to be the biggest film of the Christmas season, and the early numbers reports will be a relief. Even Marvel movies haven’t been immune to the cinema downturn – there’s not a film in its cinematic universe that’s crossed $500m at the box office since – so the pre-sales reports for the new Spidey will be music to many people’s ears.

Might it be that there’s a general weariness amongst people of going back into lockdown of sorts as well? Certainly the response to the latest government announcements seems more mixed than usual, and there’s been no spate of movie studios postponing their wares over the past week or two as the world adjusts again to more Covid news.

It goes without saying, though, that everything can change quickly. Two weeks ago, at best Omicron was regarded as a letter of the Greek alphabet, and – if you spelt it incorrectly – a videogame from 1999. Now, we find ourselves on tenterhooks again as we wait to see just what impact it’s going to have.

The difference thus far for cinemas, though, is that it’s business as usual. Doors are wide open, big films are playing, audiences are turning up. Compared to the reopening of cinemas in summer 2020 for instance, this feels wildly different. Fingers crossed that there’s good news ahead…

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