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International statistics

19 January 2018 à 09:38

UniFrance releases results for French Films abroad in 2017

After a sluggish year in 2016 with fewer than 50 million admissions, the performance of French films in foreign theaters soared in 2017 to reach 80.5 million admissions, for some 468 million euros in revenue. For the 4th time in 6 years, French films generated more ticket sales in international theaters than on home soil. 


80.5 million admissions* (up 98% compared to 2016). In France, French films drew 78.2 million admissions in 2017**

468 million euros in receipts* (up 82% compared to 2016)

2017, a year of recovery for french cinema abroad:

  • More admissions abroad than in France for the 4th time in 6 years
  • 60.7 million admissions* (76% of the total) for majority-French productions (up 124% compared to 2016)
  • 38 million admissions* (47% of the total) for French-language films (up 42% compared to 2016)
  • 642 French films on release* in foreign movie theaters (up 5% compared to 2016)
  • 7 French films sold more than 1 million tickets abroad*** (compared to 6 in 2016)
  • 76 French films drew more than 100,000 admissions abroad***
  • China became the leading market for French films in 2017, ahead of the United States and Russia

*Non-exhaustive data already compiled by UniFrance. The definitive results, available in September, will necessarily be higher
**Provisional data estimated by the CNC
***Provisional data estimated by UniFrance


As was the case in 2014 and 2015, 2017 was dominated by one EuropaCorp English-language production, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which single-handedly accounted for 40% of spectators for French films during the period. As a result, the number of admissions for French-language films, while rising 42%, only accounted for 47% of overall admissions for French cinema for the year, compared to 66% in the previous year. This is, however, in line with the average over the past decade (44%).

Majority-French productions also returned to more normal levels, with 60.7 million ticket sales in 2017, surging 124% compared to 2016, and accounting for 76% of overall admissions for the year (compared to 67% the previous year). This is slightly below the 10-year average of 79.6%.

Although 2017 was notable for the performance of Luc Besson’s film, many majority-French financed productions also enjoyed success abroad, such as the 4.8 million admissions for the comedy drama Two is a Family, 2nd in the annual ranking, followed by the thriller Overdrive which completed the podium, accumulating nearly two million ticket sales. The rest of the top 10 once again underlines the diversity of French production, with the success of the animated movie The Jungle Bunch (The Movie), the 4th best-selling French film of the year, the comedies R.A.I.D. Special Unit, Christmas & Co. and Penny Pincher!, and the dramas Elle and Miss Sloane.

Another indicator of the diversity of the offer of French cinema: 76 French films cumulated more than 100,000 foreign ticket sales last year, compared to an average of 60 per year since 2000. Despite this, atomization remains limited, with 64% of admissions concentrated on the five leading films in the annual ranking, significantly higher than the 10-year average of 59%.

Last year was notable for the recovery of French cinema abroad, and 2018 should see the strong performance in foreign theaters continue. Among upcoming films are some highly-anticipated comedies, with the Dany Boon-directed La Ch'tite Famille and The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir by Ken Scott. After the success of Asterix - The Mansion of the Gods, a new animation adventure is set to hit screens: Astérix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, written by Alexandre Astier and animated by Louis Clichy. Action movies are also expected to do well, with two new EuropaCorp productions: Taxi 5 and Anna. Other titles to watch out for include the third and final instalment in the hit saga Belle and Sebastian, Friends for Life by Clovis Cornillac, the new films from Jacques Audiard (The Sisters Brothers) and Abdellatif Kechiche (Mektoub, My Love : Canto Uno), and the first feature film by Xavier Legrand, Custody, which won a string of awards at the Venice Film Festival.

EuropaCorp, Gaumont and SND are at the top of the 2017 sales companies ranking in terms of admissions obtained by their films in foreign markets. Follow the independent sales agent Wild Bunch International, Kinology, Memento International and Playtime.

EuropaCorp is at the top of the ranking of producers whose films attracted the most admissions abroad, thanks to Valerian. It is followed by Quad/Main Journey (Leap!) and Vendôme Production (Two is a Family).


Despite doing less well than expected, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was the French production that sold the most tickets in international theaters in 2017, totaling 30.6 million admissions in close to 80 territories. More than one-third of the total came from China, where the film sold 11.6 million tickets – the best performance ever by a French movie in this country. The film also garnered 4.7 million admissions in the US & English-speaking Canada, 3.2 million in Russia, 1.75 million in Mexico, and 1.05 million in Germany.

The sensation of 2017 was Two is a Family. The comedy drama broke the five-million admissions barrier abroad, driven by its performance in Italy, where it drew 1.1 million admissions, putting it in the overall top-25 hits of 2017 there. The film also did well elsewhere in Europe: 926,000 admissions in Germany, 521,000 in Spain, and 250,000 in Poland.

With 1.9 million admissions in international theaters, an action movie is 3rd on the podium in 2017. Overdrive was the 2nd biggest-selling French movie of the year in Mexico, where it sold 286,000 tickets. It attracted more than 200,000 admissions in Russia and Italy, while the appetite in Asian markets for high-adrenalin films drove it to 171,000 admissions in Malaysia and 132,000 in Japan

Another film that drew more than one million foreign admissions is The Jungle Bunch (The Movie), which performed well in the United Kingdom, where it was on release for 14 weeks, garnering 225,000 admissions, the 2nd highest score in 2017 for a French film after Valerian. The animation has been released over 30 territories, and did even better in Russia, where it sold 281,000 tickets. 

For the 2nd year running, Elle features in the top 10. The thriller’s international roll-out began mid-2016, and continued throughout 2017, when it generated an additional 984,000 admissions taking its worldwide total to an impressive 1.6 million admissions. The stand-out figures last year were in Italy (176,000 admissions), the US & English-speaking Canada (a further 159,000 admissions, for a total of 270,000), and Germany (150,000).

For the 2nd year running, Western Europe remained the leading export region for French films. With a total of 24.7 million ticket sales, it accounted for nearly one-in-three tickets sold for French films over the period. Germany was the only territory of the region to make the top five (compared to four last year), with 4.9 million total admissions, including 1 million for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and more than 900,000 for Two is a Family. Other notably strong performances included Leap! in Spain and Two is a Family in Italy, which both sold more than one million tickets locally.

Driven mainly by Valerian, which cornered 75% of total admissions to French films in the region, admissions in Asia increased five-fold, taking the region to 2nd position for French cinema exports in 2017. With 13.4 million admissions (including 11 million for Valerian), China became the leading market in terms of audience for French films in 2017, ahead of the USA. There were also more than one million ticket sales in South Korea and Japan for French films over the period.

It was a good year for Central and Eastern Europe which took the 3rd place of the ranking by accounting for 16% of total admissions to French films abroad in 2017, its best performance since 2007 (17.3%). As with other regions, Valerian and Leap! dominated the annual rankings and accounted for more than 50% of total admissions in the region. The strong performances of these films in Russia (3.2 and 1.2 million admissions respectively) saw that territory move up to 3rd place on the podium among export markets for French cinema in 2017.

Despite growth in admissions of 66%, North America slipped to 4th position among export regions for French film in 2017. The disappointing results for Valerian in the USA and English-speaking Canada (4.7 million admissions) saw the territory lose its leading position in 2017, in favor of China. As for Quebec, it was another sluggish year with 800,000 total admissions, including 184,000 for Valerian and 104,000 for Two is a Family.

Side by side with North America, Latin America ranks 5th with 10.5 million total ticket sales and a 13% market share (the second-best market share for the region in more than a decade). With more than five million ticket sales, Mexico was the leading country in the region and moved up to 4th place among export territories in 2017, mainly thanks to the 1.7 million admissions for Valerian, the only French film to cross the symbolic one-million mark in the region.

In Oceania, the top-performing French film of the year was for once a French-language picture, Leap! (450,000 admissions), which outstripped Valerian (260,000). Another pleasant surprise was the performance of the comedy Rosalie Blum, which ranked 3rd with almost 150,000 admissions in Australian theaters.

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Latest update : 13 May 2020 à 09:38 CEST

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