The Visitor from the Future: a model for the future?
- The surprise success of François Descraques’s science-fiction film in French cinemas should make the industry think, according to distributor Vladimir Kokh (KMBO)
“I hope for the distributors and for the public that this test run will give ideas to producers and to the different financing actors so that they welcome projects that go beyond the very classic art house genre and that can dynamise the theatres and weave a first link with occasional spectators who do not often go to the cinema." For KMBO's pilot, Vladimir Kokh, the 231,000 admissions recorded in a fortnight by François Descraques's The Visitor from the Future [+see also:
film profile] are not simply the signs of a surprise success, but should give food for thought to the entire film industry in a tense context where French cinemas (also affected by the energy crisis) are facing a drop in attendance of around 30% in 2022 compared to 2019 (the last pre-pandemic reference), with the entire national industry asking questions and exploring multiple avenues to bring audiences back to the cinema, especially young people: play on the price of the ticket? On the event-based nature of screenings? On the volume or type of films launched on the market? etc.
"The Visitor from the Future is a science-fiction film with comedy elements, but far from the usual French comedy standards," continues its distributor. Its plot? In 2555, in a devastated future, the apocalypse threatens the Earth. The last hope lies with a man capable of time travel. His mission: to return to the past and change the course of events. But the Time Brigade, a time police force, hunts him down in every era. Produced by Pyramide Productions and co-produced by France 2 Cinéma and the Belgians Scope Pictures and Allons Voir, the film sold by Elle Driver did not have an easy birth according to Vladimir Kokh: "The producers had difficulty financing this film which is not classic in the market. It's a first film with a €4.5M budget that they managed to make with the means at hand (even if France 2 had a good intuition by entering into co-production), but which is very ambitious, with lots of special effects. "
"What explains its current success in theatres? I think that we are at a turning point for cinema distribution today. We know very well that there are pitfalls for the diversity of French films offered, especially with the 15-25 or even 15-35 age group, which is more attracted to American films. But in distribution, we are currently discovering, for example, that mangas can obtain excellent results. This line of work, which Eurozoom has been working on for several years, was confirmed in a very strong way with One Piece Red released by Pathé: these are serious candidates that can boost the market. The Visitor from the Future is the same, because when we analysed its admissions, we found that the average ticket price is higher than usual, which means that the spectators are not season ticket holders, but people who buy their tickets individually, which is confirmed by the days when the film does best, weekends and Wednesdays, which are typical of the peripheral/provincial public, as opposed to the cinephile public, who go to the cinema on Thursdays, Tuesdays, etc. There is a public appetite for films that are a bit of UFOs in the market. This gives us some clues to launching production and distribution initiatives on the French market. Because there is a strange thing that we have noticed on social media: for some of the public, French films are bad because they are French! So there is a huge amount of educational work to be done on this fringe of the public to show them that in France, good films can be made, not necessarily with incredible budgets and which can appeal to viewers who are not necessarily cinephiles."
(Translated from French)
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