Wide Angle

Foreign investors want to resurrect cinemas in Morocco

While attendance at theaters is decreasing drastically and traditional movie theaters are closing their doors one after the other, several international companies are targeting the Moroccan market.

Ciné Atlas Rabat Colisée in Rabat which will open in August./Ph.DR.
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Figures published by the Moroccan Center for Cinematography (CCM) in 2017 revealed that the two multiplex leaders in Morocco, Megarama and IMAX, monopolize 83% of market share. The numbers show that the movie modern movie theaters dominate the sector, leading to the gradual disappearance of traditional cinemas in the country. This change has pushed several foreign investors to think of conquering the growing industry in the Kingdom.

According to Maghreb Confidentiel, quoted by Le Desk, the French group Pathé-Gaumont discreetly got established in Morocco through a subsidiary called «Pathé California Casablanca». The group intends to open one of its first multiplexes outside of Europe in the residential area of California in Casablanca.

The First multiplex in Rabat 

Pathé-Gaumont is not the only company to think of investing in the country. «Ciné Atlas Holding», a Moroccan subsidiary of Chrysalis, another French group, also wants to join the trend. Created in 2016, it has just refurnished the legendary «Le Colisée» cinema in Rabat. Located in the center of the Moroccan capital, this historic site, highly visited in the 1950s, has been closed since 2002.

Le Colisée will reopen its doors next August, under the name of «Ciné Atlas Rabat Colisée», becoming one of the first «premium» cinemas of the continent. Its renovation cost the company more than 11 million dirhams. The latter has four rooms, including one of 250 seats and three others of 70 seats each. 

Chrysalis Group’s Chairman Pierre-François Bernet told the French newspaper La Croix that he has chosen Morocco for its «strong development potential». Moreover, the entrepreneur even considers the country «a gateway to the continent». By 2019, he plans to open three new cinemas at the Abdelouhed El Kadiri Cultural Foundation in El Jadida.

A Risky bet

Investing in this sector is indeed a risky bet for the two French groups, while the number of cinemas has decreased drastically since 1980 as reported by (CCM). More than thirty years ago, the country had more than 300 cinemas. Currently, there are only thirty left with a very low attendance. Only 1.67 million people attended a movie theater in 2017.

The CCM is trying to revive the film industry in Morocco. Thus, it granted the Chrysalis group a subsidy amounting to 3.6 million dirhams to carry out its renovation project for «le Colisée» cinema in Rabat.

With the creation of new multiplexes in the country and the upcoming arrival of Pathé-Gaumont, Moroccan could get back to the habit of watching movies outdoors. However, CCM and film professionals are betting on an upcoming resurrection.

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