Home News Eric Meyniel (Kinepolis): «We made a great effort to bring it to theaters "The Snow Society"»

Eric Meyniel (Kinepolis): «We made a great effort to bring it to theaters "The Snow Society"»

Eric Meyniel (Kinepolis): «We made a great effort to bring it to theaters "The Snow Society"»

We live in a strange paradox. In 125 years of cinema history, we have never seen so many movies and series per year, per month, per day. However, in 125 years of cinema history, the rooms have never had it worse. In the latest report presented by the Federation of Spanish Cinemas (FECE), it was indicated that attendance at theaters has grown spectacularly since the end of the restrictions due to the pandemic, but the data languishes in the long-term comparison. term: We go to the movies 16% less than a decade ago. Not everything is negative, since Of the 723 rooms open in 2019, we have increased to 751partly thanks to the creation of micro-niches dedicated to auteur cinema and the original version in several provincial capitals.

In this panorama, an uncertain one but still open to all the possibilities that technology offers, a titan of the theaters celebrates a quarter of a century accompanying us. Kinepolisa Belgian chain that operates around the world with close to 110 cinemas in Europe and North America, arrived in Spain 25 years ago, giving shape to a triumvirate of multiplexes of which it is a part along with Cinesa and Yelmo. Founded in 1997, although it would arrive in our country two years later, Kinepolis has in our country its flagship in the City of the Image in Madrid, a display of media worthy of the circumstances with 25 theaters and more than 9,000 seats. In fact, it obtained the Guinness record for the cinema with the most seats in the world.

One of the rooms at the Kinepolis Ciudad de la Imagen, in Madrid
One of the rooms at the Kinepolis Ciudad de la Imagen, in MadridKINEPOLIS

The added value in cinemas

To talk about the 25 years of experience in our countrythe celebration by Kinepolis and the panorama in the sector, LA RAZON is cited with Eric Meyniel, global commercial director of the brand and one of the men who knows the most about exhibition in our country, when he started working in the Belgian company when Blockbuster was a solid company and leading it now, in the times of Netflix, Prime Video and HBO marking the times of the industry. “When we arrived, we wanted to do it in the most spectacular way possible. Hence the City of the Image project, which on the plan seemed monstrous but ended up being wonderful. But we arrived at a somewhat grandiose time, with many companies also arriving in Spain and opening rooms that were not really fruitful. Our medium, that of exhibition, is based a lot on consolidationand at the beginning of the century very few businessmen took it into account,” explains Meyniel sincerely.

And he continues, about the survival of Kinepolis beyond the economic crisis of 2008 or the pandemic in 2020: “I don’t know if there is a secret, but what has worked for us is believing in added value. Here you will see the movies, yes, but not in the same way as in other cinemas. We are going to dress them and work on them so that the experience is complete. For this reason, I firmly believe in our model and in the idea of ​​having, in Ciudad de la Imagen for example, all possible technologies. From IMAX to laser, as modern as possible“adds the executive, also mentioning the emergence of the original version, also in more commercial chains like the one in question, in the last decade.

A controversy and a communication problem

Having in front of one of the men who most commands and knows about exhibition in our country, and taking advantage of the commercial success that has turned out to be “The Snow Society” in theaters, despite going hand in hand with its premiere on Netflix, we have to ask Meyniel about Kinepolis’ decision to accompany JA Bayona’s epic in theaters, distancing itself from Cinesa and Yelmo, which They chose to ban it from their cinemas: “I can’t tell everything, of course, but all these issues come from a culture of negotiation. It is very difficult to negotiate with Netflix, but in Spain we had a great opportunity thanks to Tripictures, which was the distributor here. This allowed us to access better conditions than, for example, in other European countries with the same film.. It’s difficult to talk about it in more depth, because everything is confidential, but it is a tough process. It is not about sending an offer and waiting for a yes or no, there are many factors to take into account, such as the issue of exclusivity and the exhibition window. We made a great effort to bring “The Snow Society” to theaters and it has been proven that we did the right thing. The film had to be seen on the biggest screens possible“, explains Meyniel sincerely, about a decision that the director himself applauded at the Goya Awards ceremony.

Before saying goodbye, and continuing to celebrate 25 years of Kinepolis in Spain, Meyniel also has time to address one of the biggest communication problems of movie theaters in our era: price. Regarding this fallacious argument against going to the cinema, since it is one of the objectively most accessible leisure options, the manager responds: “It is a conversation that we have pending with the viewers, partly also because of our fault for not knowing how to communicate things well. But I will tell you that cinema is accessible. Of course, going on a Monday night is not the same as going on a Saturday in the middle of the afternoon, but there are options for all budgets. Our competition is not streaming platforms or football on television, it is live events, those where we create memories. There’s no cheaper, more accessible place to make memories than a movie theater.“, says Meyniel poetically.