This story first appeared in the November 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Opening night of the final Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay – Part 2, was to be a major event in France, where the franchise has a rabid fan base. But after the terrorist attacks that rocked the city on November 13 and left 130 dead and hundreds injured, neither the November 17 preview nor the opening night screenings the following day sold. “[The attacks] are in the back of my mind ”, a customer buying three tickets at the Gaumont Opera theater says THR November 17. The man, who declined to give his name, says he argued while walking the streets to the cinema before deciding that seeing the film would be a show of force. “Call me crazy, I have to see him with friends,” he said. “If something were to happen, a bullet is a bullet, but I’d rather be together. “
Shock, anger and fear mingled with the perseverance and determination of the French in the days following the attack, and these feelings are reflected in the return of people to places of entertainment, much like the United States after the mass shooting of an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012. How many Paris attacks attributed to ISIS – whose victims include 80 fans of the group Eagles of Death Metal shot during a concert at the Bataclan theater, and a person at a bombing Stadium of France during a football match – will affect the cinema, music and live events sector in France and across Europe remains to be seen.
French President Francois Holland called the attacks an “act of war”. France began an intense bombardment of an ISIS stronghold in Syria on November 16.
Movie chains reopened after the weekend closed. U2 and Foo The fighters canceled concerts (U2 – of which leader, Bono, called the attack “the first direct blow to the music” – was due to air his performance on HBO, which CEO Richard Plepler was in Paris for the event), and Prince abandoned his European tour. Paris premiere of Steven Spielberg Bridge of Spies, Natalie Portman’s Jane has a gun and Tom Hardy Legend were also canceled.
Rentrak considers the latest James Bond film, Spectrum, lost about 20 percent of its first week box office in France to the shutdown, and Fox’s The Martian also took a hit. But they could accelerate if French moviegoers return, as they did after the Charlie Weekly attack in January, which lowered the box office slightly before recovering. The new terrorist strikes are expected to cause similar short-term declines but little long-term impact.
Mockingjay – Part 2the French distributor of Metropolitan Filmexport, has decided not to move the release date of November 18. “It’s a political situation, and we don’t want it to influence the release of the film or have an impact on people’s freedom,” said a representative of the film, indicating industry-wide agreement. “It’s the decision of everyone, of all the distributors and operators in France. You have to do what you would do under normal circumstances.
The controversial Made in France – Nicolas Boukhrief country thriller jihadists in the Parisian suburbs, which had already been kicked out of theaters following the Charlie Weekly attack – was removed from cinemas. StudioCanal says he plans to postpone the scheduled February release of Bastille day, the Idris Elba’s action thriller about a Paris bombing, but that decision had not been made at the time of going to press.
Most French entertainment insiders agree that the industry remains defiant – so cautious. “Some distributors asked us if they should reschedule the films or not”, explains Rentrak French Managing Director Eric Marti. “But we told them, ‘No, keep going; it is more risky for a film to create confusion. Have confidence that the market will recover. “
Stadium de France was the site of one of the attacks after bombs exploded outside the site during a football match.
Pathé went ahead with the November 16 premiere for Thomas by Bidgain The Cowboys despite the delicate subject of Islamic radicalization. It will be released on November 25 as scheduled. BAC The films also refused to budge Taj Mahal, the film by Nicolas Saada about the similar coordinated terrorist attacks that struck Mumbai in 2008 and killed 164 people. It remains scheduled for December 2.
The security of the theater, which had already reached unprecedented levels after 12 Charlie hebdo employees were killed in a gun attack, will be further increased. For example, a representative of the Grand Rex Theater, which hosted the Mocker premiered on Nov. 9, says it added 24-hour guards.
A spokesperson for EuropaCorp, the prolific film and television company founded by French filmmaker Luc Besson, said the company would review security procedures for upcoming premieres. “We have our own security company and will focus on very strict security, finding bags, etc.,” the representative said. “Once we have put [premiere] dates, we will sit down and discuss the implementation of security.
As for American distributors with operations in Europe, few are ready to detail the security measures – for obvious reasons. “The cardinal rule when it comes to safety is that you don’t talk about safety,” says a studio source.
But almost all of them express concern for the safety of employees and talent traveling to Paris and the rest of Europe for film releases. The next big pole in the world is that of Disney Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in France on December 16, two days before its North American launch. Disney declined to say if its rollout plan would be changed, but its French premiere had already been planned as a small affair with no big stars (instead, reporters will be transported to London for the red carpet event). London is more popular than Paris when it comes to big premieres. Yet Paris welcomes its fair share. Screenings and junkets can be invaluable in the area as TV commercials for films are not permitted in France. “It’s one way to advertise your movie,” says one publicist. “For the moment, things will be canceled.”
But while France continues to fight against the aftermath of the attacks, French moviegoers refuse to give up their love of the the movie theater. Reflects a cinephile THR said on the Champs Elysées: “The cinema is French. Why would we let them take that away from us?
Pamela McClintock contributed to this report.
Paris under siege: mourning the victims of the industry
Nicolas Alexandre, 36 years old
Merchandising manager for groups such as Sum 31 and The Black Keys
Thomas Ayad, 34 years old
International Product Manager at Mercury Records.
Maxime Bouffard, 26 years old
Filmmaker and postproduction specialist.
Guillaume Decherf, 43 years old
A music journalist for the magazine Les Inrocks, Decherf had written about Eagles of Death Metal in its October 28 issue and first revealed the group’s November concert at the Bataclan.
Romain Dunay, 28 years old
Dunay was a professional musician. “You are immortal,” a friend wrote on Twitter, while another mourned the “loss of a kind and dear soul, a musician, a teacher and a friend.”
Thomas Duperron, 30 years old
Communication director at the theater and at the concert hall of the Maroquinerie in Paris.
Grégory Fossé, 28 years old
Music programmer for the D17 television channel.
Mathieu Hoche, 38 years old
Normand Hoche was a cameraman on the France 24 news channel. A friend tweeted about his love for rock music.
Djamila Houd, 41 years old
Employed at the Parisian fashion house Isabel Marant.
Fanny Minot, 29 years old
Editor-in-chief of the Le Supplément television news broadcast on Canal Plus.
Lamia Mondeguer, 30 years old
Communication officer at the Studio Noma talent agency.
Marie Mosser, 24 years old
Officer of Mercury Records.
Manu Perez, age unknown
A music marketing manager who worked at Universal Music France for over a decade. Perez was killed at the Bataclan with his girlfriend, Precilia Correia.
Kheireddine Sahbi, 29 years old
Professional violinist widely known as “Didine”.
Luis Felipe Zschoche Valle, 33
Valle was the singer and guitarist of the Parisian rock group Captain Americano. The group posted a tribute on their Facebook page showing Valle on stage at a concert in a pilot’s uniform.
Reporting by Alex Ritman