Do you dream of watching a movie while enjoying a unique sound and visual experience? On December 14, Pathé opened a 100% high-end movie theater. Pathé has reinvested the premises of the former Gaumont Parnasse, renamed Pathé Parnasse, located between the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Gare Montparnasse in Paris.
This venue has twelve screens and is “the first fully premium movie thater in Paris”, according to the president of the group’s cinema branch, Aurélien Bosc. But it is also the first to offer such a high entrance fee, since the full price is €18.50. At a time when streaming platforms are becoming increasingly popular, France’s leading cinema operator has decided to offer a truly different cinema experience. Will this strategy be able to make people want to go back to theaters?
In fact, cinema attendance has been decreasing since the COVID-19 crisis. It has just experienced the lowest level of admissions recorded for a month of September since 1980 according to the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma). Admissions were just 7.38 million, down 34.3% from September 2019.
For the head of the Pathé group, Jérôme Seydoux, the reopening of this theater represents a real “upscale and modernization” of its cinemas. In order to entice moviegoers, the twelve screens that make up the complex are designed to offer a truly high-end cinema experience.
The theaters are composed of “fully reclining seats, wider than usual and developed especially for this movie theater, with two meters between each row, full laser projection, a technical and comfortable experience that is quite rare in Paris,” explains Aurélien Bosc.
Pathé promises images with “enhanced brightness and unparalleled contrast: the level of detail is striking, the colors more vivid and vibrant, the images more spectacular. Dolby technology is also included, creating “sound that travels”.
The capacity of the movie theater “is greatly reduced to about 800 seats (from 2,000), with every other row of seats removed” to improve comfort. This strategy is also explained by the increase of empty or partially filled rooms. In this case, many square meters are unoccupied. Something that has certainly encouraged the installation of fewer, but better and more expensive seats.
Make prices more affordable or create a premium movie experience? This is the film industry’s current dilemma. The Pathé Parnasse cinema has made its choice: the experience comes first! The management is banking on the quality of the sound, image and comfort of the theaters to attract new customers and make movie showings unforgettable.
Of course, the price for spectators is commensurate with the services offered, with a full price of 18.50 €. For early bird moviegoers, a ticket costs €12.50. The student rate is €13.50, and tickets are €7.50 for children under 14 years old. Note that in 2021, the average price of a movie ticket was €7.09 (CNC). Moreover, two thirds of the audience currently pay a reduced rate (Fédération nationale des exploitants de salles, FNCF).
“It takes a premium experience to get people off the couch.”explains Laurent Creton, a specialist in the economics of cinema, audiovisual and digital media.
Recall that in 2021, movie theaters offered to play video games on a giant screen, but the number of private home theaters has continued to grow. What will happen to luxury movie theaters? Only time will tell…