Audience figures rise 59 percent as Spain’s cinema chains begin price war

Cinesa and Yelmo Cineplex are offering reduced weekday tickets at 3.50 euros

Moviegoers wait in line at a Madrid cinema on Monday.
Moviegoers wait in line at a Madrid cinema on Monday.samuel sánchez

On the first day that two of Spain’s biggest cinema chains decided to start offering discount tickets — Monday, November 18 — audience numbers increased by 59 percent, while box office takings went up 22 percent compared with the same day the previous week.

The latter figure is for the takings in all of the country’s movie houses, as the two chains that have opted to sell the 3.50-euro tickets on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays — Yelmo Cineplex and Cinesa — did not wish to make their data public. Together, the two chains in question own around 950 screens, about 35 percent of the country’s total.

The move by the two firms to lower their prices from the regular eight or nine euros on the first three days of the week is an attempt to recapture the success of last month’s Fiesta del Cine event.

Over the three days of the promotion, which ran from Monday, October 21 to Wednesday, October 23, 1.5 million tickets were sold at the reduced price of 2.90 euros via the event’s website — seven times more than the number sold the same three days the previous week.

Caught by surprise

The companies took the decision unilaterally following a meeting of representatives from across the film industry to analyze the Fiesta del Cine results, and it caught many exhibitors by surprise. Grouped around the FECE cinema federation, most had been in favor of a promotion that covered the majority of movie theaters, such as a special discount day each week that would see tickets reduced to around 3.90 euros.

Each of the chains is using a different system to grant moviegoers access to the reduced tickets. Cinesa customers have to download a coupon from the company’s website at www.cinesa.es.

Meanwhile, Yelmo has ring-fenced things more tightly, putting 100,000 3.50-euro tickets on sale that customers can purchase by first “liking” its Facebook page and then clicking on a link to the page for the promotion.

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