In an interview with Julien Marcel for Boxoffice Pro, the general manager of CGR Cinémas, Jocelyn Bouyssy announces that the group is looking for a new shareholder.
According to our colleagues from Boxoffice Prothe CGR group is looking for a new shareholder.
Jocelyn Bouyssy, managing director of CGR Cinémas, has just announced the decision of family shareholders, Luc and Charles Raymond, to study the sale of the entire La Rochelle group.
CGR Cinémas is the second-largest operator of cinemas in France and the sixth in Europe with 74 cinemas and more than 700 rooms throughout France.
In addition to distribution, the group created premium ICE (Immersive Cinema Experience) theaters in 2016, which now equip more than thirty network cinemas. Note that despite the current crisis, the group has opened 2 ICE theaters in Saudi Arabia and is working on the launch of a hall in Los Angeles and the first ICE Theater in Spain,
CGR Cinémas has also expanded its cinema distribution activities with the creation of the distribution company Apollo Films (which has just distributed La Brigade by Louis Julien Petit) and CGR Events, which specializes in alternative or additional content. Including anime broadcasts such as Jujutsu Kaisen 0, My Hero Academia – World Heroes’ Mission or Demon Slayer – Kimetsu no Yaiba – The movie: The Infinity Train.
Jocelyn Bouyssy spoke with Julien Marcel from Box Office Pro on the developments and ambitions of a provincial circuit that has become a leading French and European player.
He explains: “Theuc and Charles Raymond, the heirs of founding president Georges Raymond, have decided to hand over. A page is turned and we enter, in all intelligence, in a first phase of evaluation of the group.
On the other hand, the historical shareholders want to accompany us in this transition, with the will, shared by all, to find the partners most passionate about our history, who want to help us not only to make it last, but to develop it.“
A sale in a crisis situation.
But with the recent COVID crisis and changes in habits, the cinema is struggling to recover from an area of turbulence, so the search for a new shareholder is not the easiest.
Nevertheless, the CEO of the group is rather optimistic: “This crisis has taught us a lot of things. We were afraid of a change in the economic model. We have seen the arrival of the platforms, but there is the chronology of the media in France. It is a specific and very particular country, where, as a sign of an easing of tensions, an agreement has just been signed with Netflix. We realize that now things are self-regulating.”
And the recent box office successes of Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman have made things much better. Jocelyn Bouyssy also notes that young viewers return to cinemas thanks to these films and animated films.
“We realized that young people were coming back to the cinema, perhaps more than before, as soon as it reopened in May with the incredible start of Demon Slayer. This generation addicted to smartphones, capable of watching series on a 12 cm diagonal screen, responds when the proposal speaks to them.
Certainly the older audience took longer to come back and that’s normal. They were the most vulnerable population in the face of the virus and we cannot deny the anxiety-provoking side of all health measures. And yet, sometimes all it takes is a film, the bet and the pugnacity of a single man like Kev Adams, to bring them back and reunite them with the younger generations around a comedy like Retirement home.”
Cinema is emotion, it is social ties.
He adds : “I often say it: cinema is emotion, it’s social ties. As soon as we offer material, that is to say, in our sector, films, people come. Our problem, independent of that of the platforms, was the lag of the releases by certain distributors; and I can’t blame them! But after a while, we need films to “structure” the calendar. When the virtuous circle resumes, everything is linked. That’s one of the reasons I’m optimistic globally.“
According to the latter, things should therefore gradually return to normal for cinemas. Regarding the particular case of the CGR group, Jocelyn Bouyssy underlines that the family and provincial circuit has been able to stay in contact with its spectators during the crisis.
“My optimism lies in the strength of our DNA, and the closeness that we have maintained for two years with our spectators. We have worked a lot on digital, whether on reservations or on the website.”
A closeness with its public, which the group wishes to maintain at all costs. “The profession has its eyes riveted on Paris, but we must never forget that the vast majority of admissions are made in the Provinces…
And as we have a diversified country, a country of regions, there are productions whose performances are accentuated in their territories of origin, and that does not prevent them from operating throughout France. Who would dare to say that Dany Boon’s films only work in the north? Cinema is a popular pastime for all of France. This is the DNA of the group that we want to keep !”
This ambitious and resolutely forward-looking man specifies the group’s objectives in the search for new shareholders: “We’re going to start by staying focused on day-to-day management, so in fact I’m working twice as much in the time I have left. We will continue to develop, I still have three projects in progress, and we also have this great ambition for Ice Theater which, I think, can become a global format. Unpretentious, we know we can blast Ice overseas.”
And the latter to conclude, “I want to continue to write history, with the men around me, because I do not deny anything that we have been able to do for decades and I dare to think that we have still a lot underfoot!“