The Covid-19 pandemic meant the work of the Irish film censor was cut dramatically – and it seems we're not watching DVDs anymore either.
The latest annual report from the Irish Film Classification Office (Ifco) shows a total of 259 films were certified for cinema release in Ireland in 2020 – a decrease of 49.1% on the previous year.
According to the report, which has been laid before the Oireachtas: "This decrease was entirely due to the closure of cinemas as a result of the Covid pandemic. During 2020, there were no decisions appealed to the Classification of Films Appeal Board."
The situation has changed in 2021, not least with the long-awaited release of the latest James Bond movie, with Screen Daily reporting earlier this month of its "record-breaking £25.9m [€30.6m] UK-Ireland opening".
But if 007's latest adventure ever makes it to DVD, it doesn't seem there will be many takers, with streaming clearly now the home viewing platform of choice.
According to the report: "The total number of DVD titles certified in 2020 was 1,961, an increase of 1% on the previous year.
Ifco charges fees for the certification of cinema films and DVD/videos and for the issuing of licences.
Elsewhere in the report, Ifco said its income target of €1.2m was not realised and the total was €810,000, reflecting the collapse of theatrical submissions, adding: "There was also a significant decrease in video licensing of €63,000. This reflects the diminishing market for physical DVD releases."
Ifco received just five complaints from the public which related specifically to classifications awarded last year, something it said was "reasonable given the closure of cinemas for much of the year".
Overall, the number of classifications issued last year was 2,454, which was 21% under the target of 3,111, although again this was "solely due to the reduction in theatrical submissions as a result of the cinema closures during the pandemic. Pre-shutdown in March, the figures were in line with the target."
Those features and shorts put forward for certification last year came overwhelmingly from the UK and the US, with India in third place, ahead of Ireland in fourth.
Ifco examined 21 games rated 18 by the Pan European Games Information System (PEGI) to ensure compliance with provisions of The Video Recordings Act, 1989.