How much does a movie ticket really cost in France? (Investigation)

While streaming platforms are doing well, movie theater exhibitors miss the good old days. The French don’t go to the cinema much. In September 2022, attendance dropped by 34.7% compared to 2019 according to the CNC.

Impact of Covid? Yes for 38% of respondents who, in the May 2022 CNC survey, said they had lost the habit of going to the cinema. Competition from streaming platforms? Yes, for 26% of respondents. If there’s one argument the film industry hates to hear, it’s price. But 33% of the people asked by the CNC answered that the high tariff is a brake.

Erwan Escoubet, the director of regulatory and institutional affairs of the National Federation of French Cinemas, assures his side that the price of places has not increased as one might think. He also admitted that only 13% of the tickets sold cost more than 10 euros.

The movie ticket for 7 euros: a lie?

According to the latest study by the Center National du Cinéma, the average price of a place in France in 2021 is 7.04 euros (and even 6.68 euros in Brittany). The daily release shows that the price of a movie ticket has increased faster than inflation and therefore it will be cheaper in 2021 than in 1990 (according to wages).

In an interview with Capital, Marc Olivier Sebbag, general delegate of the National Federation of French Cinemas, “70% of people who go to the cinema will pay below this price”.

To explain the difference between the reality of prices and the perception we have of them, it is necessary to provide details of the calculation method of the National Cinema Center.

CNC records all tickets sold, regardless of their origin. Promotional offers, subscriptions, multiple cards and Works Council tickets (sold by works councils) are considered in the same way as tickets sold individually. Erwan Escoubet knows this himself: “In France, we have a wide variety of reduced rates and subscriptions, limited, unlimited, cinema vouchers, tickets sold by job councils…”.

This inconsistency represents the main problem of this study. It does not give the average price of a cinema ticket, but the average price of tickets sold. This creates a gap between the number put forward by the CNC and the perception of a high price for the viewer.

To see more clearly, we therefore investigated to establish the average price excluding promotions and subscriptions. The price of a “dry” ticket, as professionals in the sector say.

Download the full study here

Method of calculation

We choose the 20 most populous cities in France (according to the 2019 census) to get a sufficiently representative panel. So the 20 cities selected are Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Lille, Rennes, Reims, Toulon, Saint-Etienne, Le Havre, Grenoble, Dijon, Angers, Saint- Denis and Villeurbanne, a population of 5,792,268.

So we don’t count potential viewers who travel from nearby towns to go to the theaters. This study also ignores the audience of cinemas located in rural areas. First because the cinemas there became rarer and the audience had to go to big cities to go to the cinema.

To find cinemas in each city, we went to the allocine.fr site which lists almost all French cinemas. We supplement searches on Google, on exhibitors’ sites and other directories if a room is not listed on allocine.fr.

We then categorize them as follows:

  • Pathe
  • Gaumont
  • MK2
  • UGC
  • CGR
  • Some multiplexes
  • Independents/Arthouses

If there are several theaters in the same category, we calculate an average of the ticket price at the standard rate. Subscription formulas, special tickets (child, elderly, in need for the event), CE areas and promotional offers are not considered.

A cinema ticket in France costs more than 10 euros

According to our calculations, the movie ticket in France (at normal price) costs an average of 11.28 euros. So it’s more than CNC announced. Only the average price of arthouses (7.15 euros) matches the average price announced by the CNC.

If French viewers have the impression that the prices are too high, it may also be because the large complexes are overrepresented. The operators sell their tickets for a small amount. At Pathé, for example, the price of a place in Paris varies between 13.60 euros and 14.77 euros. Don’t see this as a problem in Paris: in a medium-sized town like Dijon, a ticket to the Pathé cinema costs 14.50 euros!

© Keleops

The Pathé-Gaumont group is also the highest paid for cinema session. On average, in the 20 cities studied, a seat in a Pathé cinema costs 13.84 euros, in Gaumont 13.27 euros. The most “cheap” tickets are available at CGR, where the average price is 10.67 euros.

If you want under the 10 euro mark, you should go to a multiplex that is not part of a big group. On average, the ticket price is 9.27 euros. But you also don’t have the same experience depending on the film you watch.

The price went up in Paris Intramuralbut not only

Not surprisingly, our study revealed that the price of cinema tickets in Paris Intramural fly away. In large complexes, can reach 15.50 euros. The average increase of 12.07 euros including art house cinemas and 12.61 euros without.

Of the 20 cities in our sample, 12 have an average price of more than 10 euros and 19 an average price of more than 7 euros. The only survivor, an arthouse cinema in Villeurbanne, remains stalled at the 7 euro stack.

True, subscription formulas and promotional offers make it possible to reduce the cost…

To earn a monthly subscription, for example, you need to go to the cinema at least twice a month (ideally). Not to mention that some subscriptions mean a commitment of at least one year. It does not necessarily correspond to the uses of all.

In summary, by 2022, Going to the cinema sometimes costs more than 10 euros.

The 10 cities where cinema tickets are the most expensive

If the average price in France is 11.28 euros, not all cities are in the same boat. Here are the 10 cities where the price of movie tickets is the highest:

  • Paris (12.07 €)
  • Nantes (€10.87)
  • Toulon (€10.80)
  • Furies (€10.80)
  • Marseilles (€10.75)
  • Lyons (€10.69)
  • Reindeer (10.65€)
  • Toulouse (€10.58)
  • Dijon (10.57€)
  • Montpellier / Nice (10.20€)

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