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Studies & Market Reports

02 December 2014 à 10:18

2013 Report on French films abroad

In 2013, French films attracted 50.8 million spectators and generated €298.7 million in box office revenues outside France. After an exceptional year in 2012 (144.1 million admissions), these figures mark a significant downturn in results.

The complete report provides an analysis of the performance of French films in movie theaters in over 50 markets and on television networks in 17 European markets, as well as results for French short film exports (revenues of €650,000).

Due to the absence of spectacular performances in 2013, as was the case in 2012 with titles such as Taken 2, The Intouchables, and The Artist, French films saw their attendance figures suffer a decline in markets outside France. For the first time since 2003, only one title registered more than 5 million admissions in 2013: The Family by Luc Besson, which clocked up 8.5 million admissions in 62 markets.

A direct consequence of this lack of major hits was the extremely marked fragmentation of the market for French films abroad. The 5 most successful French titles in foreign theaters in 2013 accounted for just 34.4% of total admissions to French films outside France, as compared to 70.5% in 2012. This is the highest level of market concentration since the early 2000s.

This broad spreading of admissions across different markets also allowed a number of French-language productions to achieve good rankings in the annual box office charts for French films, thanks to excellent performances in several international markets. Love ended its triumphant international career, which kicked off in 2012, with 3.9 million admissions. Blue is the Warmest Color launched its international run at the end of 2013, and has since then won over more than 1 million spectators around the world. German audiences gave an enthusiastic welcome to Paulette, which pulled in over 500,000 moviegoers. In North America, Renoir achieved the best performance by a French-language production in 2013, registering 300,000 admissions in the USA and English-speaking Canada.

Despite these generally modest results, French cinema set two new records in 2013. In China, first of all, French films amassed 5.2 million admissions, thanks notably to the high score of Fly me to the moon and the EuropaCorp production Colombiana. Bolstered by this record performance, the Asian market stood out for the first time as the second biggest market for French film exports in 2013, behind North America.

In Portugal, 2013 will go down as a historic year in which French films crossed the 1 million admissions barrier for the first time, thanks to the record performance of The Gilded Cage, which hit the top of the Portuguese box office and attracted over 750,000 spectators.

Beyond simply suffering from the after-effects of an exceptionally prosperous year in 2012, French films' results were nonetheless lackluster in 2013. With movie attendance figures proving sluggish in the home market (-20.7% over 2012, according to the CNC), this has been a difficult period for French films, but one which does not necessarily affect the years to come. Currently buoyed by encouraging signs, such as the gradual penetration of the Asian market and the surprise success of highly original films in markets considered "mature," the indicators for French films are all showing positive trends in 2014, thus allowing French cinema to continue to stand proud as the world's second largest exporter of film product.

Documents to download below:
Free access: International figures
Reserved for UniFrance Films members: The complete report

Author : Grégory Alexandre

Latest update : 13 December 2016 à 10:18 CET

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CNC - Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée

Activities :  Executive Producer

Activities external to film production :  Organization, Unifrance Partner

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Activities :  Film exports/foreign sales, Co-production, French distribution , Executive Producer

Recent filmography : Dancing On, A Mermaid in Paris, Anna, ...

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