LONDON — The live broadcast in movie theaters of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “Richard II” was seen by more than 60,000 people on Wednesday night in 364 cinemas across the U.K., generating more than £1 million ($1.6 million) in box office receipts, including the more than 20,000 people who booked tickets for upcoming screenings.
The production was directed by Gregory Doran and toplines former “Doctor Who” star David Tennant, who plays Richard II. It was part of the “Live from Stratford-upon-Avon” series, distributed by Picturehouse Entertainment.
Internationally, the production was broadcast live in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Ireland, Canada and Malta on Wednesday, with five further countries, U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Russia, screening it over the next two months, adding up to more than 200 movie theaters. In addition, further screenings are planned across the U.K. over the next month.
“We are delighted with the audience reactions we have had so far to last night’s live performance,” said Marc Allenby, head of commercial development at Picturehouse. “The size of the audience is a real tribute to the RSC, and further evidence of the reach and potential of quality alternative content in cinemas in the U.K. and around the world.”
“It’s a fine thing when Shakespeare trends on Twitter as he did last night,” said Lyn Goleby, managing director of Picturehouse.
More than 34,000 U.K. kids will see the production on Friday via a direct-to-the-classroom interactive stream. This will include a live Q&A with Doran and Tennant.
The production was filmed using multiple cameras around the stage and auditorium, with John Wyver as producer, having previously collaborated with Doran on the RSC’s filmed versions of “Macbeth,” with Antony Sher and Harriet Walter, for U.K. pubcaster Channel 4, and “Hamlet,” with Tennant, and the recent African “Julius Caesar” for the BBC.
The RSC’s next three productions, “Henry IV” parts 1 and 2, and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” are coming to cinemas next year.