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Will Caviar and Champagne Lure Auds to Luxe French Multiplex?

Luc Besson's production company EuropaCorp moves into cinemas with high-end suburban venue

Consolidating its vertical integration, Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp unveiled its first multiplex located on the outskirts of Paris during a presentation hosted by the shingle’s CEO Christophe Lambert on Wednesday.

EuropaCorp Cinemas got off to a glitzy start by hosting the French premiere of Besson’s “Malavita” (aka “The Family”) with stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro and Dianna Agron, pictured above, walking the red carpet at the 12-screen multiplex housed inside Aeroville, a new mall in Tremblay-en-France, near Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Cinema will open to the public Thursday.

Shingle’s move into exhibition puts it in the company of other French studios that own multiplexes such as Pathe, Gaumont, TF1/UGC, as well as MK2.

“This exhibition activity is part of our diversification strategy and it allows us to generate recurrent revenues with very limited risk,” Lambert said. “We’ve invested $16.2 million into this multiplex and we aim at breaking even within two years, with a minimum of 700,000 tickets sold per year.”

EuropaCorp doesn’t own the real estate: It’s renting the multiplex from leading commercial real estate company Unibail-Rodamco.

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Tremblay-en-France is an under-screened area, making it attractive to EuropaCorp. French major UGC has also targeted the area, and has just obtained the permission to build a multiplex nearby, although EuropaCorp will likely benefit from being inside the Aeroville mall, one of Europe’s biggest shopping destinations, and the only large-scale entertainment offering in the region.

EuropaCorp is looking to set itself apart from its competitors by housing diverse programming in its plex.

The Aeroville multiplex boasts four different viewing experiences, with a “Live” theater dedicated to events such as operas and concerts, and its sports a bar; two “First” theaters featuring leather seats, a 3D screen and an access to a private lounge featuring gourmet food and wine from Petrossian (smoked salmon, caviar and champagne) and Pierre Herme macarons; a EuropaMax room, the studio’s Imax-style 366-seat theater; and eight “classic” screening rooms with up to 416 seats.

Cinemagoers can also indulge in a popcorn bar (featuring more than 16 flavors), and snack on hot dogs and burgers .

Both the Live and EuropaMax theaters are equipped with Dolby Atmos technology and a 4K-3D film projector.

Ticket prices range from $13.60 for the Basic screening room to $33.80 for the First. The latter rate includes a platter of Petrossian salmon and a glass of champagne, as well as the access to the VIP lounge.

“The films are only a part of the EuropaCorp Cinemas experience: We’re looking to have folks hang out here before and after they’ve watched a movie,” said Lambert.

The multiplex also hosts EuropaStore, which sells books and merchandising products, many of which are linked to the films playing there.

Lambert said the company is moving ahead with it plan to build a plex in Marseille by 2015 and pointed out that EuropaCorp aims to open seven multiplexes by 2020.

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