Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

No, Mr Bond, I expect you to thrive

Written by Charles Clegg, senior associate
Edited by David Gaffney, partner

29 September 2021

Good morning,

James Bond has saved the world on multiple occasions now. Can he save the UK’s cinema sector too?
 
The coy yet now omnipresent marketing campaign for No Time to Die is not the only thing whipping up hype for the film. The UK’s cinema sector is hoping 007’s latest outing, which received its royal premiere in London last night, will boost a sector whose very existence has, in recent times, seemed fragile.
 
When the pandemic shuttered cinemas across the globe, even optimists were left wondering what the future held for the pictures. Even before then, the rise of streaming services revived the perennial question of what future, if any, the cinema had.
 
For now, at least, No Time to Die looks set to deliver. The UK-based multiplex chain Cineworld has reported that, within the first 24 hours, the film sold more tickets than any save two of the films released in the past five years. Several screenings are already sold out and Cineworld Group’s shares had risen 11% by Monday afternoon. This is a massive turnaround for a company that was forced to close all its cinemas indefinitely when, in October 2020, No Time to Die’s release was delayed for a second time.
 
The latest Bond movie – initially scheduled for April 2020 then delayed two more times – is an extreme example of blockbuster release postponements that seemed to undermine cinema’s tentative recovery. Yet deferred releases are set to prop up mainstream cinemas for the coming year and a half. Blockbusters including Black Widow and the ninth film in the Fast and Furious franchise will be supported by an unprecedented £250m marketing spend in the UK alone.
 
Yes, streaming services have had a great pandemic while cinemas have faltered. But Netflix’s gain is not necessarily cinema’s loss. As streaming proliferated pre-pandemic, 2018 saw UK cinemas’ best year for admissions since 1971, dipping by only 0.6% in 2019. Although annual intake may take years to match pre-pandemic levels, cinema operators will maintain their belief in the unique appeal of the flicks, and not without reason. Odeon claimed attendance was up 10% on pre-pandemic levels this month.
 
No Time to Die is set to be a welcome boost to UK cinemas. Its title could well be their motto of the moment, too.

News

Around 150 military tanker drivers are preparing to deliver fuel to UK petrol stations. Although the plans have not yet been confirmed, prime minister Boris Johnson was keen to reassure drivers, including by insisting that the UK government would not give priority to key workers at the pumps as the situation was “stabilising” and it was therefore unnecessary.
 
The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, will today address his party’s conference in Brighton. Labour insiders expect the speech to emphasise the differences between Sir Keir and his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn. It comes at the end of a party conference during which internal divisions have once again bubbled to the surface.
 
The UK government will relax rules on gene-editing of livestock and crops by the end of the year. This will allow farmers and scientists in England to conduct trials of genetically modified crops without having to apply first for consent, a process that can cost up to £10,000. (£)

Business and economy

The UK government is moving to sell CGN’s 20% stake in the Sizewell C nuclear power station to institutional investors. CGN is owned by the Chinese state.(£)
 
United Airlines will today begin the process of firing almost 600 employees who have refused to receive Covid vaccinations. The airline also claimed vaccination would be a condition of employment for the more than 25,000 staff it intends to hire in the next few years.
 
Shares in Go-Ahead group plummeted 25% after the Southeastern rail operator was stripped of the franchise  having admitted financial failures and repaid £25m in tax due to the Treasury. The firm also referred itself to the Serious Fraud Office as it apologised for its conduct and announced the departure of its finance director yesterday. (£)

Columns of note

The amount of public attention paid to Labour’s party conference has been undermined by the fuel crisis but Raphael Behr claims that such a distraction, while bad for Sir Keir Starmer in some ways, at least distracts from the internal divisions which have been on show in Brighton. Behr argues in The Guardian that Labour’s real problem is that it is constantly looking for Starmer’s replacement.
 
Covid recovery has been a boost for alcohol manufacturers as customers return to pubs and bars. Yet, amid declining drinks sales in western countries and an abstemious younger generation, drinks makers are also under pressure to keep up their success. In the Financial Times, Brooke Masters looks at how drinks brands are increasingly turning to low- or non-alcoholic alternatives to boost sales. (£)

Cartoon source: The Times

Markets

What happened yesterday?

On Wall Street, stocks fell sharply as fears of rising interest rates and of stagflation in Europe saw the S&P500 fall 1.7% while the Nasdaq composite dropped 2.5%. This lack of confidence was reflected in Europe, where the Stoxx600 index fell two per cent. London’s FTSE100 saw a smaller loss at 0.5%.
 
Sterling was trading 1.35 against the dollar and 1.16 against the Euro.

In company news:

AG Barr has welcomed “record” first-half profits as demand for its products, including Irn-Bru, picked up post-lockdown.
 
Pfizer has reported positive results in tests of vaccines for younger children.
 
Lego’s first-half profits reached record highs after more than doubling due to lockdown demand for toys.

What’s happening today?

Finals

Avingtrans
Origin
Quiz   

Interims

1Spatial Holdings       
Air Partner     
Cmo Group    
Futura Medical          
Glantus Hld    
Mobile Tornado
Mhc Plc          
Netscientific   
Next   
Seeen 
Sumo Group Plc         
Yu Group

Trading announcements

Mhc Plc

AGMs

Ao World        
Frasers Grp    
FRP Advisory  
Fulcrum Utility
Great Eastern 
Novacyt          
Scholium Group         
Fulham Shore 

UK Economic Announcements

(00:01) BRC Shop Price Index
(09:30) Mortgage Approvals
(09:30) M4 Money Supply
(09:30) Consumer Credit

Int. Economic Announcements

(07:00) Import Price Index (GER)
(10:00) Consumer Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Business Climate Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU)
(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU)
(10:00) Services Sentiment (EU)
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:00) Pending Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

The best ever year for cinema admissions in the UK was 1946, with more than 1.6 billion admissions that year.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

The House of Commons is not sitting and will next sit on 18 October 2021.

House of Lords 

The House of Lords is in recess and will next sit on 11 October 2021.

Scottish parliament 

Portfolio questions
Health and Social Care
Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
 
Scottish Conservative and Unionist party debates
Halting the COVID-19 Vaccine Certification Scheme
Legal Right to Recovery

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