9 out of 10 French people think that cinema boosts morale
Estimated reading time: 3 min 43 s
As the re-opening of cinemas draws ever closer, the French are keener than ever on the seventh art. After a year when they have had to go without, they are convinced that a trip to the movies is good for morale! Viewers are looking to enjoy arts and culture activities and they intend to go back to the movies as often, or even more frequently than they used to. With this in mind, Médiamétrie asked French people aged over 15 how they felt and what they expected from films.
Cinema: the public's most anticipated arts and cultural outing
For cinema-goers, watching a movie on the big screen meant a chance to relax (93%) and escape (92%). Above all, 9 out of 10 French people thought that cinema boosted morale, a precious quality during these troubled times. Among 15 to 24 year olds, that figure rose to 98%. Audiences also spoke of sharing emotions, a sense of togetherness, much-needed distraction and self-improvement.
After a year of going without, the French population's pent-up desire for cultural outings was palpable. The cinema was top of their list, with nearly 8 out of 10 people keen to return. 35 to 49 year olds were even keener, at 85%.
The desire for arts and cultural activities also extended to concerts, museums and exhibitions, theatre and lastly, the opera.
Marine Boulanger, Director of the Médiamétrie Cinema Division offered this analysis: "These results demonstrate the public's strong and enduring appetite for the cinema and the unique experience it represents. Signalling a return to normality, this desire tallies with the needs of the French population that have only increased over this year of the public health emergency. They can't wait to get back into the cinema."
Going back to the cinema even more often than before.
This appetite for the cinema is manifested in the strong intention to go to the movie theatres once they reopen. Almost 3 out of 4 people (73%) want to go as often as they used to. Whether it was to make up for lost time or to enjoy an experience they had been deprived of on a more regular basis, over 1 in 10 French people (12%) planned to go to the cinema more often than before; all the more so among regular audiences – those who visited at least once a month – 44% wanted to go more often, 15 to 24 year olds (24%) and women (14%).
Above all, the cinema meant "going out": almost 3 out of 4 people spoke of being entertained, with 57% mentioning an outing and 56% a leisure activity. Just like they always did, movie theatres delivered an emotional experience: enjoyment, escapism, dreams and an immersion. Lastly, the third major focus was on self-improvement: the public associated film with discovery, art, creativity and curiosity.
Films: audiences seeking adventure, laughs, and thrills...
The type of films moviegoers wanted to see reflected their need for a big screen experience and to feel the different emotions that go with that. When the cinemas reopen, for over one half of viewers (57%), action and adventure films will top their wish lists. French comedy also ranked highly with 51% of French people opting for that genre, a figure that rose to 67% for those aged 65 and over. One unexpected result revealed that almost half of cinemagoers (47%) wanted to see crime movies and thrillers, which was higher than usual; indeed 56% of those aged 65 and over opted for those genres. It could be that this interest has been sparked by the high consumption of such films on the "small screen" during the closure of cinemas.
Marine Boulanger concluded: "These results reflect how much the French care about cinema and are extremely encouraging for the months to come; audiences have high expectations of the films that will be screened. Here at Médiamétrie, we offer a consolidated and accurate view of overall media consumption, we aim to work alongside cinemas as they reopen, studying attendance trends based on audience profiles in a more competitive environment."
Three Questions for Richard Patry, President of the National Federation of French Cinemas
What do these results reveal to you?
These are amazing results which confirm just how keen audiences are to return to movie theatres. The French have missed the cinema, and the cinemas have missed their audiences!
Did the films chosen by cinemagoers surprise you?
It's always reassuring to see such figures since although I am an optimist by nature, you do have some doubts after six months of closure... But these results are encouraging on several fronts: in the land of the Lumière brothers, just as in pre-crisis times, audiences are just as eager to visit the cinema. This strongly-held desire is part of the French way of life and French culture, and we will be delighted to rediscover it on May 19!
What are you doing to prepare for the return of audiences into theatres?
The first thing will be to turn the projectors back on. As well as stirring our emotions, it is also technically essential to ensure that all of these high-tech machines are working properly. We'll get all of our staff members in to induct them on the very precise health guidelines drafted by the National Federation of French Cinemas and validated by the French government. In addition, we've launched discussions with distributors regarding the film release schedule - a more complex exercise than usual - but the fact that everyone is so keen to get going again gives me confidence!
Laure Osmanian Molinero