After a difficult year in 2009 marked by the global economic crisis, export revenues for French films rose by 26.1% in 2010 to reach €172.6 million, the highest level since this study was first produced.
Export revenues for foreign films continued to rise in 2010, also reaching the highest level since the study began, standing at €91.8 million (up 2.5 % over 2009). International sales of foreign films accounted for 34.7% of revenues for French sales companies in 2010 (down 4.8% compared to 2009).
This increase in revenues for French films in 2010 must nonetheless be viewed within the context of a downturn in attendance figures for French films abroad. According to uniFrance Films, French films registered 59.9 million admissions in 2010, a decline of 10.9% against 2009. Theater ticket sales fell by a lesser extent, down 3.5% to €338.5 million. The apparent variation between data collected by the CNC and uniFrance Films can be explained by the use of different statistical parameters. uniFrance Films calculates theater ticket sales on films released in 2010, while the CNC takes into consideration net revenues from film sales agents in 2010 across all distribution channels for films released in theaters in 2010 or earlier.
In 2010, revenues from the export of "recent" French films (films produced after January 1, 2007) accounted for €149.3 million, a rise of 23.1% over 2009. After two consecutive years of decline, revenues for the sale of "catalogue" French films (films produced before January 1, 2007) rose even more significantly (up 49.1% to €23.4 million). Catalogue films represented 13.5% of export earnings in 2010 (up 2.1% over 2009).
Western Europe remained the major export destination for French films in 2010, representing €74 million and accounting for 42.9% of total export revenues (4.7% less than in 2009, but representing a 13.6% increase in absolute terms). The rise in revenues can be largely credited to sales to the UK (up 35.6% in 2010 to €10.5 million). North America ranks as the second most popular export destination for French films in 2010, thanks to a number of large-scale contracts. Generating €47.8 million in sales (up 55% over 2009), North America accounted for over one quarter of total earnings (27.7%). Central and Eastern Europe remained in third place (€17.6 million, up 9% over 2009), generating 10.2% of export earnings. After several years of shrinking figures, film sales to Asian countries picked up in 2010 (up 55.7% to €16.5 million), accounting for 9.5% of total export earnings. The remaining geographic zones played a more limited role in the French film export market in this period.
The three leading film sales companies controlled 64.2% of international film export revenues in 2010 (against 58% in 2009). Five sales outfits earned over €10 million (as was the case in 2009), capturing between them 79.6 % of total earnings for French film sales in foreign markets (75% in 2009).