Since the mid-1980s, the growth of multiplex cinemas has transformed the
social, industrial, and spatial logics of film exhibition across western Europe.
Pioneered in the United States, where they were developed in the mid-1970s
as “destination anchors” in suburban retail centers, multiplexes first appeared
in Europe in Belgium (as early as 1975), Sweden (1980), and the United Kingdom
(1985). In France, multiplex development started comparatively late; a
first wave of comprehensive theater modernization and rationalization,
launched in the 1960s, had already created a distinctive national model of
multiscreen complexes (such that one observer was moved to argue that, by
the late 1980s, “without false modesty, France’s film theaters are the most
attractive in Europe and among the best in the world”).