INTERVIEW – A week after their reopening, the president of the National Federation of French cinemas is confident about the future of the sector.
LE FIGARO: The first week of reopening of cinemas ended with a box office of 2.26 million admissions . Is this a record you expected?
Richard PATRY. – After seven months of closure, we knew from the messages sent to us by the public that the French were eager to return to see films on the big screen. But 2.26 million admissions, it is objectively much more than what we expected. Many young people came, it is proof that they are attached to the room. The possibility now of using the cultural pass in the cinema for 800,000 eighteen-year-olds will support this enthusiasm.
But above all I want to say a big thank you to the spectators. With this extraordinary cover, they sent a very important message to the whole world: the movie theater is not dead. Quite the contrary. I am very confident for the future. On screens, the great diversity of films will continue. I expect a lot from The Father by Florian Zeller with Anthony Hopkins released on Wednesday then Nomadland by Chloé Zhao with Frances McDormand. American films are returning timidly, it is a chance for the many good French and European films programmed in the coming weeks. The first Hollywood blockbusters will arrive in early July with Black widow then Fast & Furious 9. We will move on immediately with two French blockbusters: OSS117 and Kaamelott. Suffice to say that summer should be very beautiful. At the start of the school year, it will continue with a host of films including Eiffel by Martin Bourboulon on August 25.
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With the takeover of MGM by Amazon , did you fear that To die can wait , the next James Bond, not going to the cinema?
James bond without the movie theater, he’s a little cop like Derrick. 007 was born on the big screen, never its producers, including Barbara Broccoli, will never let it go on the Amazon platform without going through the cinema box. It would be stupid of Amazon to shoot the value of 007 by not releasing it on the big screen. We can see that the films released on the platforms have a reputation of a few days, afterwards no one talks about them. Releasing directly to a platform has nothing to do with the economic, artistic and media value creation that you get through movie theaters. The franchise of Lion King on Disney + would never have existed without the triumph of the first Lion King on the big screen.
James Bond without a movie theater, he’s a little cop like Derrick.
The management of Canal + said in the columns of the Figaro that she wants to broadcast the films three months after their theatrical release against six to eight months today. What do you think ?
Maxime Saada, chairman of the board of Canal +, waves the red rag in front of us and he has clearly crossed the line. Me alive, Canal + will never release films at three months. It is a dangerous provocation given the stakes. He is in his role, we are in the midst of negotiations on the media timeline with the platforms. But it is all discussed together around a table. It is not Maxime Saada against the rest of the world. Canal + plays a primordial role in the French seventh art. It is thanks to Canal that new generations of authors and directors have been able to shoot.
Me alive, Canal + will never release films at three months.
Now, this preponderant role also gives him responsibilities. He cannot say to others: “ you, I don’t care “. There, he wants to suck our spectators and therefore crush the cinemas. These platforms can be lucky if they bring in the money to produce more films and ever more diverse works. If not, it is better to stay with the status quo with the current system. I repeat: it is impossible for Canal + to stick to the window reserved for theaters.