After a downturn in 2016 with slightly more than 40 million admissions, French film results in foreign theaters saw an increase in 2017, reaching 82.6 million admissions and garnering €483.9 million in box office revenues. For the 4th time in 6 years, French cinema generated more admissions abroad than in the home market.
Like 2014 and 2015, 2017 was dominated by a EuropaCorp, English-language production, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which alone drew in more than a third of the spectators for French films during this period. Consequently, the number of admissions for French-language films admittedly progressed by 48%, but represented no more than 48% of global admissions for French films during the year, compared with 66% in 2016. This result nevertheless falls within the average recorded for the last decade (46%).
Another aspect that returned to normal: with 62.4 million spectactors altogether in 2017, attendance figures for majority French productions progressed by 130% in comparison with 2016, and represented 76% of the year's total admissions (compared with 67% last year). In this case, the level was slightly inferior to the average of 78% recorded over the past 10 years.
Although 2017 was hence marked by the performance of Luc Besson's film, many majority-financed French productions also met with success abroad, as illustrated by the 4.8 million admissions generated by the comedy drama Two is a Family, 2nd in the annual rankings, followed by the thriller Overdrive, which completed the Top 3 by pulling in 2.1 million spectators. The rest of the Top 10 titles once again highlight the diversity of French production, with the success of the animated film The Jungle Bunch (The Movie), the 4th best French film of the year, the comedies R.A.I.D. Special Unit, Christmas & Co., and Penny Pincher!, and the dramatic features Elle and Miss Sloane.
2017: a year of recovery for French cinema abroad
Another indicator of the multiplicity of French cinema on offer: 82 French titles attracted more than 100,000 spectators this year, against 69 on average since the beginning of the 2000s. However, the fragmentation of admissions remains limited, with 62% of admissions concentrated on the 5 first titles of the annual rankings, a proportion higher than the 54% average registered in the last decade.
The fantasy/horror/SF genre generated the most admissions internationally (38%), in large part thanks to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which participated by 97.5% in this result. Although it only represented a small number of titles (21), this category far outstripped the others, with a total number of admissions twice that produced by comedy, which followed in 2nd position. This genre showed an upturn (+29% admissions), and Two is a Family contributed to it by bringing 4.8 million admissions. Only 1.3 points separated comedy from animation, which experienced a notable 2017 with its admissions multiplied by 3 in comparison both with 2016 and the average noted the past 10 years. Leap (12.6 million admissions), which garnered ¾ of the genre's overall score, deserves a special mention.
Several French productions reaped awards at the leading international festivals in 2017. BPM (Beats Per Minute) caused a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival and left with the Grand Prix, while Jeune Femme received the Caméra d’Or. Meanwhile, the Venice jury awarded Custody the Silver Lion for Best Director and the Lion of the Future "Luigi De Laurentiis" Venice Award for a Debut Film, and Kamel el Basha was hailed Best Actor for The Insult. Félicité won the Jury Prize at the Berlinale, and Faces, Places received the Audience and Best Documentary Awards at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). While still on the other side of the Atlantic, Agnès Varda was awarded an Honorary Oscar in recognition of her career, and Isabelle Huppert triumphed at the Golden Globes and was bestowed with the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama and was nominated for an Oscar in the same category for her work in Elle.
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In connection with this news
TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) - 2017
Feature film and short film festival
Academy Awards - 2017