As reported by Boxoffice Pro sister publication Boxoffice France, movie theaters in France will be allowed to open on Wednesday, May 19—a long-awaited return to moviegoing for a country whose cinemas have been shuttered since last October.
Per an announcement from President Emmanuel Macron, theaters can open at 35 percent capacity on May 19, followed by an increase to 65 percent capacity on June 9 and 100 percent on June 30–a week before the beginning of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The country’s 7pm curfew will be extended to 9pm on May 19 and 11pm on June 9 before being lifted fully starting June 30. It is not yet known if cinemas will be given an exception to the national curfew; the FNCF, the country’s cinema trade association, is currently seeking an exemption. Reopening dates and capacity limits can be adjusted in regions where Covid positivity rates surpass 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Cinemas in France, as in much of the rest of Europe and North America, were ordered to shut down in mid-March, 2020. Most of the nation’s cinemas reopened on June 22 as Covid numbers subsided; rising case numbers, however, led to the introduction of a curfew in October, followed by a second national lockdown starting on October 30. “It really added insult to injury,” said UNIC CEO Laura Houlgatte Abbott in a November appearance on the Boxoffice Podcast, that French cinemas had their “most successful weekend since reopening” just before the second lockdown went into effect.
Other key markets across Europe remain fully or partially closed, though some territories have set reopening dates. In the U.K., indoor cinemas will be able to open as early as Monday, May 17. Per information provided by UNIC, cinemas in Austria, Denmark, and the Netherlands are expected to be allowed to open at limited capacity in May. Russia is the largest European cinema market to be completely open, albeit with capacity restrictions.