To bring the public back to the dark rooms, professional organizations launched a campaign on October 26 on the theme: «We all have a good reason to go to the cinema». Explanations.
After more than two years of pandemic and nearly three hundred days of cumulative closures, the time has come to win back audiences in cinemas. Since the reopening of cultural venues in May 2021, nearly one Frenchman in two has not recovered his cinematic habits and declares that he has returned less often or at all to the cinema according to a study conducted by the CNC published last May.
To restore to the public the click and habits of attendance, the National Film Centre (CNC) partners with professional organizations to conduct a major communication campaign on the theme “We all have a good reason to go to the cinema”. It is launched this Wednesday, October 26 with on the program a spot broadcast on television and in the dark rooms and a hashtag: #MaBonneRaison. Focus on this initiative with Richard Patry, President of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), the union of professional unions of cinema owners and exhibitors.
In what context are you launching this major communication campaign?
With the health crisis, movie theatres closed for a total of three hundred days over several periods, almost a year. This situation has led our fellow citizens to reduce their use of cultural venues, especially movie theatres. When he arrived at the Ministry of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak was fully aware of the need to restart the machine.
The difficulties are – I sincerely believe – behind us. First, because the measures put in place during this pandemic by the government have allowed all the theatres to reopen in France, which is a global exception. So we have preserved the cinema’s tool, our model as we know it. Nevertheless, it is true that we are in a position to win back the audience with currently -30% spectators compared to pre-COVID numbers.
What is the objective of this campaign?
Touching people who don’t go to the movies. Hence the idea that the Ministry of Culture, the CNC and professional organizations put together for this campaign that will encourage our fellow citizens to redo the process of returning more to the cinema. We are very confident because we already see many tremors with the last few weeks very good in terms of attendance and diversity of films.
We are convinced that the cinema is the best place in the world to see a film designed by talents and to experience the same emotion as other spectators. This is the magic of cinema: to be in a place where we offer ourselves time for two hours, a disconnection that we need so much in this economic and social context not necessarily radiant.
This campaign has a slogan: We all have a reason to go to the movies "…
This theme has emerged as the most promising, the simplest ideas being often the best. We all have a good reason to go to the movies and we don’t all go to the movies for the same reasons! It is important to restore the click, to look deep down for its good reason, to put it forward and then to leave home to go to the nearest cinema since we are lucky to have preserved an exceptional fabric of theaters.
We are confident that when audiences return to the cinema more often, they will say, “how could I go without going as before ?”. It is indeed a hyper addictive leisure! That’s why the idea of this campaign is interesting because we think there needs to be an impulse to automatically reset the machine.
The cinema is the best place in the world to see a film
What kind of audience do you want to bring back to the theatres? According to the CNC study, assets and seniors are the ones who have returned least to the cinema, unlike younger ones…
The campaign is aimed at everyone but it is true that the health crisis has changed the way of life of the workers with the introduction of telework and more effort to motivate the act of exit to go to the cinema. “Consumption” habits have also changed with the explosion of film supply channels and the arrival of platforms - even though they present relatively little cinema and more series.
The other category of audience that changed its habits was that of young retirees who were very loyal and regular spectators. So, when a spectator who went three or four times a week to the cinema goes less, you lose tickets but also curious spectators who came to see the least obvious films.
So we wanted a fairly general campaign that talked to everybody. Moreover, young people have returned massively to the cinema because the offer allowed them and also thanks to the culture pass who helped us enormously.
In this big win-back operation, what role can cinema operators play?
Our role is to constantly reinvent ourselves and to reissue films. We now realize that operators have a crucial role to play in the animation of the premises. Our spectators are not only consumers, they come not only to see a film but also to participate, reflect, meet talents, discuss during debate evenings, put films in perspective.
What is also important is to maintain the quality of the equipment so that people are always welcomed in the best possible conditions of comfort. We want to continue to offer the public the best venue in the world, which is why France is recognized today.
The price of the ticket is another argument put forward by the public to justify its non-return in the theatres… Is this something you plan to work on?
We have to put this issue of ticket prices into perspective. In France, the average price is 7 euros and not 15 or 20 as we see it. This means that we need to communicate more effectively about the fact that cinema is the cheapest cultural leisure in the world. Just look at how much a theatre seat, a concert seat, a ticket to a football game costs— Not to mention that a cinema square contributes to the financing of creation and the maintenance of cinemas in all their diversity.
We have one of the most dynamic pricing policies in the world between unlimited subscriptions, subscription cards, days and discounted sessions. But we still have a hard time showing this dynamism because cinema is an intangible and not physical good. You will always find it too expensive to buy a place for a film you didn’t like and at the same time you will be willing to spend a lot of money on the film you want to see.
Are there reasons to be optimistic about the future of movie theatres?
I am very optimistic. We know that 2023 will be an exceptional year in terms of films. We see the diversity of French productions in all areas, from high-budget production to Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire, Abbé Pierre – A Life of Fighting or diptych The 3 musketeers, smaller-budget films and the big comeback of American films.
There is a real reason to hope, and with such an offer and the click that has been given back to our fellow citizens, we can hope that 2023 will be the year of complete restart and, why not, that of the 200 million spectators. I am crossing my fingers so that we can return to this symbolic milestone and so that France can continue to be the most cinematic country in Europe.
What’s your reason for going to the movies?
To disconnect me and let me go. I love going into a room almost without knowing what I’m going to see, totally without any influence, to turn off my phone and sometimes let myself be surprised by things I didn’t even imagine. It is an absolute happiness to allow oneself to be truly destabilized, to come out of one’s own convictions and to live an emotion that we do not expect.
Campaign runs until November 20
A spot to invite spectators to go to the cinema for all the good reasons that are theirs: discover films, talk about them, laugh and cry together in the dark, grow with all the diversity of films in the world, Entertainment in a comfortable and technologically friendly environment…
From October 26 to November 20, this spot, and more generally this communication campaign in support of the "We all have a good reason to go to the cinema" will be broadcast, both on television and on the channels' catch-up TV sites. A cinema version is also planned as well as an electronic display in the stations. This campaign is accompanied by a hashtag #MaBonneRaison for social networks.