Since March 1 and the theatrical release of Creed 3, around thirty screenings in France were disrupted by brawls. In Saint-Etienne, where around twenty people were arrested. But also in Charleville-Mézières, Thionville, Tours or even Ivry-sur-Seine. Result: to avoid other excesses or as a precaution, several cinema operators have decided to deprogram the film. This is particularly the case in Cluses, Annemasse or Dreux.
The phenomenon is not new. In 2021, the preview of the film Fast & Furious 9 had filmed boxing in the same cinema in Saint-Etienne. Two years earlier, in 2019, several screenings of the film Joker, accused of glorifying violence, had been peppered with incidents in the United States, forcing the police to intervene in the middle of the session. How then to explain that spectators come to blows?
“It is not for nothing that we speak of cinema as a factory of emotions”, advances Emmanuel Ethis, author of the book Sociology of cinema and its audiences. “We love cinema because it is in direct contact with our imaginations and we need stories and tales in our lives. It is for this reason that the public cries in front of titanic as he knows the end of the story, as he marvels at Avatar or that he is scared with Jaws. Cinema provides feelings. The theatrical projection spreads these emotions, ”explains the sociologist, also vice-president of the High Council for Artistic and Cultural Education.
“These few brawls illustrate a need for narrative and food for our imagination. But we must not link things mechanically. It is not the cinema that is responsible for all behaviour,” insists Emmanuel Ethis.
“The challenge of sharing the most beautiful fight on TikTok”
According to Claude Forest, professor emeritus in cinema economics, the overflows observed “correspond to changes in society” and have “nothing to do with the film shown”. “No incident has been noted” during the releases of the previous opuses of Creedhe recalls.
“The first fight in front Creed 3 happened because of a young woman using her phone during the session. One of the spectators attacked her violently. What started it all was that the interaction was filmed and posted directly to social media. And from there, the challenge of sharing the most beautiful fight on TikTok was launched”, he analyzes, evoking “a loss of all moral sense”.
“The telephone diminishes our attention to others”
“People are able to put their cat in the washing machine, film it and then post their video. How can one assume such an immoral act? asks Claude Forest, pointing to the feeling of impunity on the part of fans of TikTok, Snapchat and other social networks. But also a tendency towards a lack of civility.
The use of the mobile phone during a cinema session, despite the regulations in place, is perceived as “intolerable”, underlines the teacher. “The telephone diminishes our attention to others, and therefore politeness and courtesy. This sometimes leads to the worst behavior, in the cinema as elsewhere. »
After the Covid-19 health crisis, “many cinemas did not renew the contracts of agents in theaters – known as mediators – for economic reasons. However, they were privileged interlocutors during lively exchanges between two spectators”, further analyzes Claude Forest for whom the presence of mediators made it possible to “dissuade” troublemakers from taking action and “to ease tensions”.