Cinema “it’s cheap”, assures Richard Patri, president of the National Federation of French Cinematographers, as the film festival began from Sunday, July 3, to Wednesday, July 6. For a single price of 4 euros, the audience will be able to enjoy the latest theatrical productions. In the midst of the depression, the sector is hoping to revive cinema attendance, which has halved since the Covid-19 crisis. Between 20 and 30% of viewers did not return to the darkroom, depending on the profession. The price of seats is not in doubt, assures Richard Patry: “Find me a ticket to the theater for less than 7 euros. Go to the opera for less than 7 euros”he answers. “If you lower the price of tickets, we will no longer be able to invest” and with “build the world’s first cinema park”he said.
franceinfo: Did you estimate the number of viewers who did not return to the cinema?
Richard Patrie: We are missing some of our viewers. This is confirmed by the numbers. We are missing 25% to 30% of the audience who have not yet returned to the cinema. So if we take the glass half full and if we’re optimistic, we think it’s great. If you compare with other countries of the world, then it is great. Spain – minus 50%, Italy – minus 70%. Therefore, for us, the fact that we are 25-30% less is already a miracle. But it is true that we want to find our audience and that the French are returning en masse to the cinemas.
How to climb a slope?
Because of the Covid crisis, people have changed their habits. Maybe it started earlier, we shouldn’t hide it. This is also a massive influx of platforms. During the Covid crisis, people were told: “Stay at home! The cinema can be dangerous”. And then habits change. Some of our viewers had a hard time coming back. And those who have returned come a little less, because there are also economic problems. Indeed, one always gets the impression that the cinema is expensive, but not expensive.
A movie ticket can cost up to 15 euros. For an equivalent amount, we have a whole catalog of movies online. Don’t you think it’s too expensive?
Research shows that some people actually think that movie tickets are too expensive. People who think movie tickets are too expensive don’t go. Those who go to the cinema absolutely do not mention the reason for the price as a brake. The average price is 7.05 euros. The €15 you are talking about is the full price. Less than 19% of people pay that full price. This means that 81% of viewers pay less than full price. If you look objectively, for a film that costs millions, what gives you so much for two hours of viewing in exceptional conditions?
“Go to the Foire du Trône with 7 euros, see how much you can last. Find me a theater ticket for less than 7 euros. Go to the opera for less than 7 euros.”Richard Patrie
So you are not going to lower the prices?
If you leave, you will no longer have the funds to build the world’s first movie park. France has, without a doubt, the most beautiful film park in the world. If you lower the seat prices, we will no longer be able to invest. Today, we clearly see that 75% of returning theatergoers expect welcoming, modern venues because they want the experience to be exceptional. They want to watch movies that also cost a lot of money to produce. I do not think that the output is in the price of seats, not only.