FILM fans have reacted angrily to Gaumont-Pathé cinemas’ introduction of higher-priced seats in the centre of cinemas – bumping up the price of a ticket from €12.20 to as much as €15.70.
Tested out initially in the Pathé multiplex in Chambéry-les-Halles, Rhône-Alpes, the system was introduced in Paris with the modernisation of the 3D Salle Pathé+ in the Pathé Wepler in Place Clichy.
It now has a centre section with wider seats – including some two-seaters – which is right in the so-called “sweet spot” for best view and best sound from the 55 speakers, including 18 in the ceiling.
However, Paris cinema-goers complained immediately about the “introduction of first-class when it is disappearing elsewhere”, “does Gaumont think it’s SNCF with first-class places for €2 extra?”, “why does Gaumont not offer cheaper tickets for less well-placed seats?” and “cinema should remain popular art that is accessible to all”.
Seat prices in the Salle Pathé+ - which features High Frame Rate film projection for HD viewing at 48 frames per second - start at €12.20 but it already has different pricing for 3D films, with a €2.50 surcharge for the spectacles.
Cinema-goers can pay more for comfort with “duo” seats available for €13.20 and Premium recliners for €14.20 which are 65cm wide instead of the usual 59cm. The midnight session costs more all round with ordinary seats at €13.70, Duo at €14.70 and Premium at €15.70.
Best bargain is the first seance of the day where tickets start at €9 with Duo at €10 and Premium at €11.
Gaumont-Pathé intends to extend the scheme to multiplexes in Caen and the Paris Beaugrenelle shopping centre.