CGR, the number two operator of cinemas in France is looking for a new shareholder. Luc and Charles Raymond, heirs of the founding president, have decided to hand over.
Jocelyn Bouyssy, managing director of the group for sixteen years, is now working to find a buyer for the historic cinema chain.
The CGR group, with its 74 cinemas and 708 screens, is the second largest cinema operating group in France, behind Gaumont-Pathé and ahead of UGC, and the sixth in Europe. He is based in Périgny, in the suburbs of La Rochelle. At the origin of these dark rooms, a man, Georges Raymond, who created his advertising company Pro-Ciné in 1966, before buying his first cinema in La Rochelle in 1974. Until 1995, the group did not was based only in the southwest, in about twenty cities from Tours to Bayonne.
From family business to French cinema giant
Until 2008, the success of the Mega CGR in La Rochelle allowed the group to establish itself throughout the territory, at a rate of four multiplexes per year. Today, there are cinemas stamped CGR in Freyming-Merlebach (Moselle), Cagnes-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes) or Bruay-la-Buissière (Pas-de-Calais). In 2017, CGR acquired Cap’Cinéma and added 22 additional establishments to its portfolio. This has allowed the group to reach its current position as number two in the sector.
CGR has also developed its activity towards film distribution, with the creation of Apollo Films (Presque, Zaï Zaï Zaï Zaï and La Brigade in 2022) and CGR Events, specializing in event programming, particularly Japanese anime (My Hero Academia – World Heroes’ Mission and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 this year). It is also the creation of ICE (Immersive Cinema Experience) rooms, integrating Light vibes technology, for an enhanced cinema experience. More than 3,000 employees currently work for CGR, including the few Burger King franchised hotels and fast-food restaurants belonging to the group.
60 million losses during the Covid-19 crisis
Like the entire sector, CGR cinemas were hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis, with a closure for several months and a temporary ban on the sale of food products. According to South Westthe losses posted by the group amount to 60 million euros.
In 2020 and 2021, French cinemas had only recorded 65 and 96 million admissions respectively (including 11,457,000 for CGR), compared to more than 200 million in 2018 and 2019. Competition from platforms such as Netflix, or the recent arrival of Disney+, tend to change the way of watching films.
In an interview for the site box office professional, Jocelyn Bouyssy plays the card of optimism. “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. […] We realize that now, things are self-regulating.