According to the latest estimations from the CNC's research, statistics, and forecast department, cinema admissions in 2011 rose by 4.2% over 2010 to hit their highest point since 1966 (when attendance reached 234.2 million). The CNC also noted that this figure is far higher than average annual admissions over the past ten years (191 million).
In the words of the CNC's president Eric Garandeau, speaking to the AFP, "These are exceptional figures. It is interesting that this increase comes after two years of already outstanding attendance figures: 2009, in which we surpassed 200 million admissions, and 2010, which registered 205 million."
Unlike in 2010, 2011 was boosted by a string of local hits, with admissions to French films rising by 21.4% to 89.6 million-the highest figure since 1984 (94.1 million). French films' market share rose to 41.6%, a significant hike from 2010 (35.7%), against 46% for American films, which showed a slight decline (47.6% in 2010).
American films attracted a total of 99.2 million spectators, a slight increase of 0.8% over 2010, while non-French, non-American films saw their attendance drop by 22.6% to 26.8 million admissions.
Last year, 105 films pulled in more than 500,000 spectators in France, the highest figure of the decade. 35 of these titles were French.
The two top performing films of 2011 were French: the runaway hit Untouchable by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache (16.7 million admissions) and the comedy by Dany Boon Nothing to Declare (8.2 million). They were followed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (6.5 million), The Adventures of Tintin (5.3 million), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (4.7 million), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (3.6 million), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (3.2 million), Puss in Boots (3 million), The King's Speech (3 million), and Cars 2 (2.9 million). In 2010, Harry Potter topped the box office, followed by Little White Lies by Guillaume Canet.
A total of 52 films attracted more than 1 million spectators in 2011, including 20 French titles: Untouchable, Nothing to Declare, Poliss (2.3 million), Service Entrance (2.2 million), Hollywoo (1.9 million), Case Départ (1.8 million), A Monster in Paris (1.6 million), The War of the Buttons II (1.5 million), The Tuches (1.5 million), The Artist (1.5 million), L'Elève Ducobu (1.5 million), War of the Buttons (1.4 million), Bienvenue à Bord (1.4 million), The Well Digger's Daughter (1.4 million), Largo Winch II (1.35 million), Titeuf, le Film (1.27 million), Jo's Boy (1.24 million), A Gang Story (1.09 million), Second Chance (1.05 million), and Ma Part du Gâteau (1.03 million).
Cinema attendance was particularly high in the second half of the year, showing a rise of 14.8% over 2010. Buoyed by the spectacular performance of Untouchable, figures in the final two months of 2011 showed an extraordinary rise of 33.5% in November (to 25.7 million admissions) and 28.6% in December (to 24.7 million).