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Culture

Sofas, food and dancing: The future of Paris cinemas?

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-09

A handful of new multiplexes will open in Paris in the coming months, setting a new standard for size and comfort of the French capital’s cinemas. One of them, created by Luc Besson, promises a “revolutionary” moviegoing experience.

Paris is known as a cinephile’s paradise: A city teeming with cinemas of all sizes, styles and offerings, where you can easily find the latest US blockbuster or a long-forgotten German silent classic playing on a big screen.

Now, the French capital is set to build on its already significant variety of filmgoing venues with forty new screens to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

But if catching a movie in Paris conjures images of grungy revival houses in the historically bohemian Latin Quarter – chain-smoking intellectuals lining up to see auteur films in basement screening rooms with sticky floors and stale odors – the theatres currently being built are prioritising American-style comfort and size.

The first of three spanking new multiplexes, to be called UGC Paris 19, will open on October 23 in the working-class, but gradually gentrifying, 19th district. Designed by architect Jean-Paul Viguier, the cinema will flaunt 14 screens, 2,800 seats and a view of Paris. It will also aim to become a bustling cultural hub for a still-gritty corner of the capital, much like nearby cinema MK2 Quai de Seine/Quai de Loire, which today draws trendy crowds to an area that once felt desolate.

Just days later, a 10-screen multiplex called Pathé Beaugrenelle will open in a mall in the largely residential 15th district.

In early November, MK2 Bibliothèque, a multiplex located in the little-visited 13th district that is known for its mix of mainstream and arthouse fare, will add four new screens in the adjacent French National Library. It will become the second-biggest Parisian cinema (after UGC Ciné Cité Les Halles, housed in a sprawling underground mall in central Paris).

Besson’s ‘revolutionary’ movie complex

But the most extravagant cinema construction project to open its doors in the Paris area is, unsurprisingly, the brainchild of French filmmaker, producer and businessman Luc Besson (director of “The Professional”, “The Fifth Element” and, most recently, “The Family”). Called EuropaCorp Cinemas and located in a new mall in Tremblay, near Charles de Gaulle Airport, the 12-screen, 12-million-euro cinema has been billed by promoters as “revolutionary”.

Said to be inspired by cinema “amusement parks” developed in Israel and Eastern Europe, EuropaCorp will offer films starting every ten minutes in screening rooms equipped with Dolby Atmos, a new system that uses speakers placed behind the screen, on the walls and on the ceiling to create an immersive sound experience.

In seven of the 12 screening rooms, the first row will consist of sofas, and viewers in other rows will be able to order food to be delivered to their seats before the film. Certain rooms will be used to screen concerts and will feature dance floors in addition to traditional seats.

The price of tickets at EuropaCorp will range from 10 to 25 euros ($13.50 to $34).

The question remaining is whether the newer, bigger Parisian cinemas will attract enough customers to justify the costs – and to what extent the City of Light’s smaller, independent movie theatres will be affected.
 

Date created : 2013-10-09

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