Movie theatres have had to face an unprecedented situation following the Covid 19 pandemic which resulted in their closure for several months in many countries. Consequently, it has become essential for cinemas to diversify their activities. This has been put into practice with the possibility of renting a movie auditorium to play video games in the most immersive way imaginable: on a huge movie screen!
While it is possible to enjoy an ultra-immersive gaming experience on a big screen at home with 4K UHD projectors and even in small rooms with ultra-short-throw projectors, this new opportunity is a dream come true for gamers.
The idea was first explored in South Korea and the United States. Since the beginning of 2021, CGV for Korea and Malco Theaters in the United States have offered movie auditoriums to rent to enjoy your favorite games. Korean gamers can rent a theater for $90 during the day and $135 in the evening. The number of players is limited to four per session and the cinema does not provide the console, the controllers or the games. You must therefore bring your own equipment!
In the States, the rate is $100 for two hours and $150 for three hours with a limit of twenty people per session. However, it is forbidden to bring your own food or drink into the auditorium! 36 establishments throughout the Midwestern United States (Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee) offer the possibility of renting an entire movie auditorium to enjoy an unprecedented gaming experience. Thanks to a much higher attendance rate than in Korea, American movie theaters can be an excellent solution for a birthday party, for example.
In France this service is still very limited and is only available in the city of Lomme, in the Hauts-de-France region. The Kinepolis chain is behind this initiative with its Kinepolis Play offer. Piloted on June 5, 2021, this service is offered at €199 for a two-hour session and a maximum of ten people. It is specified on the Kinepolis website that wearing a mask is mandatory and that users must not only bring their own equipment and games, but that it is recommended to update the consoles as no internet access is provided.
It is important to note that this new activity is in no way lucrative. The movie theater chains in question have already clearly announced that no profit is made from the rental of auditoriums. This is a very reasonable calculation, considering the price/viewer ratio. Although this solution does not make up for the losses suffered by movie theaters after more than a year of restrictions and closures, it aims to limit the damage while offering video game fans a unique experience.