“Without these measures, we would have a lot of trouble”, reacted Jocelyn Bouyssy, managing director of the CGR cinemas group, Friday 23 October on franceinfo, the day after the announcement by the Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, of new aid of 30 million euros for cinemas. “This is good news,” said Jocelyn Bouyssy then that half of the 73 theaters managed by the CGR group in France are now located in cities under curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to fight against Covid-19. However, the elimination of evening sessions remains a blow: “We will not be able to hold on like this. We will continue to bow down, we must hold on.”
franceinfo: What do you think of these new measures?
Jocelyn Bouyssy: There is the good news and the bad news. The bad thing is obviously the extension of this curfew, which now concerns about half of our cinemas. But the good news is that there is a desire, at least for a week, for the entire industry to be united. And so, it starts from the Ministry of Culture and Roselyne Bachelot, from the CNC [Centre national du cinéma], producers, distributors, exhibitors … Without this common desire to move forward, we would have the domino effect, that is to say that if there are no films, there are less cinemas that remain open, and fewer cinemas, in the end, that ends up with no more films at all! It’s already very complicated for us since March, we suffered a blow to the head with this extension of curfew … But we remain positive. We tell ourselves that without these measures, we would have a lot of trouble.
The evening sessions at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. still represent half of your turnover.
I’m not going to say that I don’t have the same speech as last week. We were stunned when the curfew was announced because we strongly believed in the cinema ticket which would have served as proof to try to save the evening screenings. We tried, we fought, we did not succeed. But we will continue to hammer it for an interesting way out of the crisis. The sooner we come back to an evening session, the faster we will get out of it, let’s be honest. This does not prevent you from having to comply with decisions and do everything you can to come out much stronger and restart much faster. This is what is important.
You have rooms that have already been in curfew areas for a week. Do you have people in the afternoon?
Yes, and for once, as you know, there are hardly any blockbusters anymore [film à gros budget], there are a lot of French films, there are very good French films and it works very, very strongly, until the 7 p.m. screening. We make all the recipes in the afternoon and it’s extraordinary. Not only does the French public show solidarity and need this social link that is cinema, it needs this emotion, but in addition, it is not afraid to go to the cinema since it is one of the most popular places. safer, with a health protocol validated for months and months.
Is French cinema doing well at the moment?
Yes, there are a lot of French films coming out. Goodbye idiots Albert Dupontel got off to a strong start. All French films are obviously taking advantage of the situation, and that is bad for good. Now, we will not be able to hold on like this, with the 8pm screening canceled in more than half of the cinemas in France … We will continue to bow down, we must hold out.