Cinema: “If a spectator finds the price too expensive, it is because he is not satisfied with the service”, believes Jacques Font

Cinema: “If a spectator finds the price too expensive, it is because he is not satisfied with the service”, believes Jacques Font

Jacques Font a fondé en 2003 le MégaCastillet, à Perpignan, plus grand multiplexe des Pyrénées-Orientales. Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

The boss of the largest cinema complex in the Pyrénées-Orientales, founded in 2003, defends the pricing policy, dictated according to him by the investments necessary to offer more and more comfort and sensations.

More and more moviegoers find ticket prices too expensive. How do you react ?

Expensive prices, but compared to what ? Our electricity charges went from 160,000 euros to 300,000 euros. Obviously, we can't lower prices with that. I don't know if people have seen prices drop over the past three years. Me no. From the moment all prices increase, it becomes necessary to adapt our prices. And then, we must, at the same time, modernize our production tool, provide more comfort to spectators.

However, the criticisms are there.

But the problem of cinema ticket prices is a false problem. You have people who only go to the cinema once or twice a year. That’s not what will make them leave or come back. Those who come more regularly take subscription cards which allow them to pay less for their cinema tickets. With us, only between 13% and 17% of people who come pay the full price. Look at the level of attendance at a multiplex like the Gaumont Odysseum in Montpellier. It charges relatively high prices, but people go there. Because the service provided is not the same. It’s like when you buy jeans at a market or in a luxury boutique. You don’t have the same chair, not the same sound, not the same hall. The price is therefore dictated by the service provided.

How can we explain this price level then ?

But in 20-30 years, the prices of cinema screenings have increased less quickly than other prices. And, above all, it’s no longer the same cinema. You have rooms in which we put 300,000 euros worth of sound. Rooms where you have armchairs that move, rain, smells, etc. The conditioning of the atmosphere is no longer the same. You are in a truly complete immersion. If a viewer finds the price too expensive, it is because they are not satisfied with the service. Cinema is even the cheapest leisure activity today.

What is the level of investment by structures like yours ?

We have twelve rooms equipped with 2D, 3D, 4K and Dolby Atmos and two Premium ICE and MX4D rooms. In 2003, when we created MégaCastillet, we invested between 7 and 8 million euros. Since then, over the years, we have invested a total of 6 million in cinemas. If we created multiplexes, it's to create small theaters in which people have the feeling of being in large ones. If a viewer isn't happy, they don't come back. I remind you that we are content to offer films to the public, which we do not produce. We offer him an environment. For us, the referendum is every day. We are a profession where we love the public and, I think, they repay us.

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