DIJON: Portrait of the Pathé cinema by Valérie Sutter

Synergy with Cape Verde, equipment, attendance, prices… the director of the agglomeration of Cinemas Pathé Gaumont reviewed, on September 22, the various issues related to the establishment of the multiplex within the Cité de la Gastronomy.

1664447120 809 DIJON Portrait of the Pathe cinema by Valerie Sutter“I had the pleasure of growing up in Dijon,” says Valérie Sutter. It is therefore a return to basics for this executive of the cinema industry who intervenes on the side of the meeting of films with the public.

On Thursday September 22, 2022, the new agglomeration director of Pathé Gaumont Cinemas answered questions fromDijon Info.

Beginnings as a film agent at Gaumont

During her law studies at the University of Burgundy, Valérie Sutter began working as a film agent at Gaumont – which has since become the Olympia – because it was compatible with the courses. “I loved the cinema”, she underlines, “the director allowed me to evolve, she put her foot in the stirrup”.

Along the way, the career took shape within Gaumont, which recruited Valérie Sutter on a long-term basis. She left Dijon in 1999. In 2001, the merger with Pathé arrived. Valérie Sutter travels through France before settling in Toulon to run the Pathé Liberté cinema. Then, she returned to the Paris region: Boulogne-Billancourt, Levallois-Perret and finally Paris, at the Gaumont Convention.

“We are lucky in France to have a very important diversity of cinemas”

“I had the chance to work in different cinemas: suburban multiplexes with very popular programming with lots of blockbusters, and city center cinemas with generalist programming or more arthouse editorial lines like at Gaumont. Convention.”

“It allows you to explore all aspects of cinema and to realize that the public is capable of loving everything. That’s what I particularly like about this job, it’s that we touch everyone and that the same spectator can like both a blockbuster and an arthouse film. There is a curiosity. We are lucky in France to have a very important diversity of cinemas.

“The challenge of opening a new cinema in Dijon in the environment of the Cité internationale de la Gastronomie et du Vin, I thought it was very interesting and it was a great project.”

“Creating a synergy” between Cape Verde and Pathé Dijon

In Dijon, Valérie Sutter is indeed climbing a step further since she is now director of the agglomeration, that is to say that she supervises the Pathé Dijon cinema – which opened on May 5 within the Cité internationale de la Gastronomie. and Wine – and the Cap Vert cinema in Quetigny. The latter is directed by Pascal Vanin.

“My role is to create a synergy between the two cinemas and to set up the strategies of the head office in the agglomeration”, specifies Valérie Sutter. Regular seminars bring together executives from all over France. “Even if we are in the same company, if we have the same tools, each cinema has its structure, its environment, its team, its audience… We don’t do the same things. It’s a human profession, we are in tune with the times, we feel society. (…) We show images.”

Comfortable armchairs, laser projectors, Dolby Surround 7.1 sound

The Pathé Dijon cinema has 13 employees, including two operations managers, a technical manager and a versatile technician to manage building monitoring and screenings. While the human resources manager was transferred internally within the group, the other members of the team were recruited locally.

The capacity of the equipment is 1,200 seats divided into 9 rooms ranging from 66 to 290 seats. “The comfort of the chairs and the inclination of the backrests have really been studied so that it is optimal and that, even if you are in the front row, you are well installed”, indicates the director.

All rooms are equipped with laser projector. Cinemas equipped with this technique boast “brilliant brightness with a wider spectrum, more natural colors and higher contrast levels, while consuming less power” than with xenon lamps. On the sound side, these are Dolby Surround 7.1 systems.

Two rooms allow 3D projections. “The 3D experience in the cinema is really something to live”, enthuses the director, “the cinema is at its best for this kind of film like ‘Avatar'”.

The hall is relatively uncluttered with a large open space, punctuated by “glass curtains” designed by the architect Pierre Chican, the ticket office with agents is on the right, the automatic ticket office on the left, while the distributors of confectionery and other popcorn are at the bottom.

“For the Fête du Cinéma, the public was there”

By acquiring the Ciné Alpes group in 2019, the Cinémas Pathé Gaumont inherited an already defined project with what could appear to be two handicaps: a location opposite the parking silo serving the Cité and an entrance on the gastronomic Village side, turning so back to the city.

The director sweeps away the argument: “there is the main entrance and the entrance via rue Alice-Guy | Editor’s note: Alice Guy (1873-1968) is considered the first female director of cinema]. (…) People cross. (…) With the signage, this makes it possible to clearly identify the cinema. (…) We no longer use a paper display”. Access to the Cité takes into account cinema times.

Before the health crisis, the attendance target was set at 500,000 entries per year. “Post-crisis, the market is so fluid that, for the moment, we have no visibility”, indicates Valérie Sutter in a context where, at the national level, for the first months of the year 2022, attendance has decreased by 30% compared to the same period of 2019.

“The cinema must reinvent itself. Launching a cinema in a declining market is a gamble. From the experience of the group, when you create a cinema, it takes time”, she analyzes. “We can see that the people of Dijon must take ownership of this new district.”

“When we released ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, the audience was there. For the Fête du Cinéma, the public was there. The evening sessions reached 80% room occupancy. We had some great sessions. This shows that the inhabitants of Dijon have clearly identified that there was a cinema within the City. There have to be films that make them want to come”, develops the director.

VO objective for all foreign films

Unmissable films – for example distributed in 800 theaters in France – are scheduled both in Cape Verde and at Pathé Dijon. However, Valérie Sutter is considering a “complementarity” between the two sites to “diversify the offer” without setting guidelines, the public in Dijon being varied. “We have a lot of residents, people who come on foot,” she slips.

The original version is making its way into multiplexes, according to the expectation of a young audience gradually accustomed to TV series broadcast in the original version with French subtitles.

If the programming in VO remains marginal in Cape Verde, at Pathé Dijon “the objective is that all foreign films be offered both in VF and in VO, by offering differentiated schedules”, indicates the director.

The Pathé Dijon benefits from the group’s programming, which can also program competing theater networks. Valérie Sutter rules out any tendency to pre-empt copies, a fear expressed by other Dijon exhibitors.

“We have an activity that is regulated somewhere. Our programming department negotiates for all the cinemas, I do not see how we could preempt anything, ”she underlines, referring to the cinema mediator for possible arbitration.

20% unlimited cards

In the regions, the prices of the various Pathé Gaumont cinemas are relatively homogeneous. Thus, the Pathé Dijon offers significantly lower prices than in Paris.

The full price is 14.50 euros but only concerns 20% of spectators. 80% opt for another rate, including 20% ​​for the CinéPass unlimited card, valid in Cape Verde and in all Pathé Gaumont cinemas in France.

Note that holders of the CinéPass card can benefit from scheduled previews sometimes several months before the release of a feature film.

As in Cape Verde, the offers proposed to works councils or social action committees operate in a “very active way”.

From October 5 to 18, a price operation will be valid online: a seat purchased at full price will be accompanied by a free seat for the same film.

“The spectators play the game” with regard to the numbered placement: “there are people who always take the same chair”. The numbering makes it possible to avoid coming very early during the sessions generating a large crowd.

“It’s much more pleasant for the spectators and even for us in our way of working”, comments the director. Ward attendants help to streamline placement.

Preview with the team of the film “My heroine”

Among the films expected for the fall, the film lover points out “November” by Cédric Jimenez on October 5, on October 12 with a preview on October 6 “Simone, the journey of the century” by Olivier Dahan, on October 19. “Black Adam” by Jaume Collet-Serra, October 26 “Plancha” by Éric Lavaine, November 2 “Mascarade” by Nicolas Bedos and November 9 “Armageddon Time” by James Gray. James Cameron’s “Avatar 2” will arrive on December 14.

As for the previews with animation, the team of the film “My heroine” by Noémie Lefort is expected on October 12. On November 2, the arrival of Juliem Rambaldi’s “Women of the Square” team is to be confirmed.

Rather than retrospectives, the cinema also offers “reprises” of emblematic films, the screening of which is preceded by an intervention by critic Philippe Rouyet.

Until October 4, the Première festival takes place with nine previews at 9 euros per screening, including the Palme d’or “Without filter”.

Then, the next highlight will be the participation in the short film festival Fenêtres sur courts, from November 5 to 12.

Jean-Christophe Tardivon

Pathé Dijon cinema prices

Normal price 14.50 euros
Students and schoolchildren 10.50 euros
Under 14 years old 7.50 euros
3D session +2 euros
CinéCarte 5 seats 44 euros or 8.80 euros per seat
CinePass 19.90 euros per month
CinéPass -26 years 16.90 euros per month
CinéPass Duo 33.90 euros per month

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DIJON: Portrait of the Pathé cinema by Valérie Sutter