“If you lower the price of tickets, we will no longer have the opportunity to invest,” warns the president of the National Federation of French Cinema.

Cinema “it is cheap”, assures Richard Patry, president of the National Federation of French Cinema, as the film festival runs from Sunday 3 July to Wednesday 6 July. For a single price of 4 euros, the audience will be able to enjoy the latest theatrical releases. In the midst of a depression, the sector is hoping to revive cinema attendance, which has fallen by half since the Covid-19 crisis. Between 20 and 30% of viewers did not return to dark rooms, depending on the profession. The price of seats is undeniable, assures Richard Patry: “Find me a theater ticket for less than 7 euros. Go to the opera for less than 7 euros”he answers. “If you lower the price of tickets, we can no longer invest” and from “build the world’s first movie park”he said.

Franceinfo: Have you calculated the number of spectators who did not return to the cinema?

Richard Patry: We miss some of our viewers. The numbers prove it. We are missing from 25% to 30% of the audience who have not yet returned to the cinema. So if we take a glass half full and be optimistic, we think that’s great. Compared to other countries in the world, it’s great. In Spain minus 50%, in Italy minus 70%. So for us, that we have 25-30% less, this is already a miracle. But it is true that we would like to find our audience and that the French are returning to cinemas en masse.

How to climb the slope?

People have changed their habits due to the Covid crisis. Maybe it has already started earlier, it cannot be hidden. This is also the massive emergence of platforms. During the Covid crisis, people were told: “Stay home! Cinema can be dangerous. And then habits change. Some of our viewers struggled to come back. And those who returned come a little less, because there are also economic problems. Indeed, one always gets the impression that the cinema is expensive, but it is not expensive.

A movie ticket can cost up to 15 euros. For the equivalent amount, we have a whole catalog of movies online. Do you think it’s not too expensive?

Research shows that it is true that some people find movie tickets too expensive. People who think cinema tickets are too expensive don’t go. Those who go to the cinema absolutely do not mention the reason for the price as a drag. The average price is 7.05 euros. The 15 euro you are talking about is the full price. Less than 19% of people pay this full price. This means that 81% of viewers are paying less than full price. Seen objectively, for a film worth millions, what gives you so much in two hours in exceptional viewing conditions?

“Go to Foire du Trône with €7 and see how long you last. Find me a theater ticket for less than 7 euros. Go to the opera for less than 7 euros.”

Richard Patry

on Franceinfo

So you’re not going to cut prices?

If you go down, you will no longer have the funds to build the world’s first movie park. France is undoubtedly the most beautiful cinema park in the world. If you lower the price of seats, we will no longer have the opportunity to invest. Today, we can clearly see that 75% of returning moviegoers expect welcoming, modern venues because they want the experience to be exceptional. They want to watch films that also cost a lot of money to produce. I do not think that the decision is in the price of seats, not only.