UGC (cinema operator)

UGC is the second largest cinema operator in Europe with, as of August 2019, 49 sites and 527 screens across two countries.

Union générale cinématographique (UGC)
Société anonyme
(with board of directors)
Founded1971 (1971)
Area served
France, Spain, Belgium, Italy
Key people
Guy Verrecchia (President)
Alain Sussfeld (CEO)
Number of employees

Continental Europe

UGC was originally an exclusively French operator, created in 1971 from a merger of several regional cinema companies. The name originally stood for Union Générale Cinématographique, but today only the initials are used. The company is focused on the business side of the film business and French-dubbed versions, showing little interest in the screening of artistic cinema, on the contrary to Pathé and Gaumont cinemas, except in some UGC Paris theatres where the programming is very diversified and includes both subtitled and dubbed versions. Out of Paris, in some cities like Nantes or Lyon, a part of this diversified programming does exist, but mostly UGC cinemas are like Pathé and Gaumont cinemas. Its competitors include EuroPalaces, Cinéville, CGR, MK2 and Kinepolis Group.

In 2011, Cinesa acquired the five cinemas UGC owned and operated in Spain.[1] UGC effectively left the Spanish market with this transaction. In 2016, Kinepolis Group sold the four Belgian Utopolis cinemas it had acquired when it took over Utopia Group to UGC.[2] UGC already owned three Belgian cinemas (one in Antwerp and two in Brussels) and now more than doubled that number, adding one cinema each in Aarschot, Lommel, Mechelen and Turnhout.

As of August 2019, UGC had:

UGC UK and Ireland

UGC was formerly also a leading UK cinema owner following the purchase of Richard Branson's Virgin Cinema Group, which it purchased in October 1999.[3] In December 2004, the business was sold to Blackstone Group and joined with Cine-UK to trade as Cineworld.[4] UGC's chain in the UK and Ireland consisted of:

  • UK: 41 cinemas, 391 screens;
  • Ireland: 1 cinema, 17 screens.

In July 2005, Cineworld began to phase out the UGC brand, replacing it with its own Cineworld logo. This rebranding was completed in September 2005. Cineworld has retained certain aspects of the UGC offer, including the Unlimited season ticket, originally introduced by Virgin, and the free magazine of the same name.

See also


  1. Jimenez, Marimar (2011-05-04). "Cinesa cierra la compra de los cines UGC Ciné Cité en España". Cinco Días (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  2. "Kinepolis sells Belgian Utopolis cinemas to UGC | Kinepolis Group". Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  3. "UGC buys film arm of Virgin". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-08-08.
  4. "Cineworld Acquires UGC's Operations in the UK and Ireland". Retrieved 2019-08-08.

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