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Studies & Market Reports

03 December 2020 à 15:51

2019 Report: French films at the international box office

Unifrance has released the results for the performance of French feature films in foreign theaters in 2019, as well as an analysis of the presence of these films at ten international film festivals and sales figures for French short films and virtual reality works in foreign markets in this period.

At this stage in the year, we already know that 2020 will be a year that will leave a lasting mark on the movie sector. For this reason, analyzing last year's results is both disconcerting—as we know that the circulation of French films in the global market as detailed in this report will never be like this again—and reassuring, as this comprehensive overview illustrates the strength, the richness, and the strong presence of French productions across all five continents, as well as the commitment and loyalty of industry professionals and audiences in foreign markets, which has not waned and which will serve as a major advantage as the industry gradually recovers.

Since the first of these reports was released in 1994,* UniFrance's annual reports have gathered and studied data on the performance of French films in markets outside France, with new content added each year. In 2019, the number of territories in which this survey was conducted increased to 70 territories. Despite the fact that data on streaming platforms remains inversely proportional to the scale of their services, some ten of our country studies include a page devoted to an analysis of the SVOD sector. We have also introduced a new section focusing on the presence of French films at international festivals, which adds to the list of awards won by French feature films that appeared for the first time in this publication last year. Studies on the export of French short films and VR works complete this year's edition.
Of all the world's national movie industries, no other country produces such a publication, which remains without equal. Its graphic layout has also evolved: it has been updated this year to be more readable and intuitive.

Downloadable documents

Freely available: the introduction to the results of French feature films in theaters + the presence of French feature films at international festivals

Access limited to UniFrance members: the complete 2019 Report

French feature films in international theaters in 2019

869 French films were screened in movie theaters outside France (a new record!), and generated:

2,836 new releases

45.3 million admissions

€275.6 million in ticket sales

These figures are consistent with the trends observed in 2016 and 2018.

7 titles registered over 1 million spectators, including the 5 most successful titles of the year:

  1. Anna
  2. Mia and the White Lion
  3. Serial Bad Weddings 2
  4. Astérix: The Secret of the Magic Potion
  5. Minuscule - Mandibles from Far Away

The most popular genres were comedy/dramatic comedy (31.4% of all admissions), thriller/adventure (23.5%) and drama (23.1 %).

In terms of geographic regions, Western Europe accounted for 46.2% of spectators to French films, followed by Central and Eastern Europe (whose share increased by 23.5% compared to 2018), and Latin America (whose share, on the contrary, fell back by 19.4%).

Italy remained the Western European country with the highest number of admissions to French films, followed by two crucial major markets: Germany and Spain.

French feature films at international festivals in 2019

199 French productions were selected at 10 major international film festivals,** representing 19% of films screened at these events in 2019.

45 French titles premiered at Rotterdam and Cannes. The Cannes Film Festival offered French productions the largest share of its lineup (49.5%). Cannes, Busan, and Toronto form a trio of festivals that have screened the largest number of French films in the past ten years.

Of the 199 films identified in this report, 145 are coproductions and the main foreign partners were Belgium and Germany. English and Arabic are the two languages most often spoken in films, after French.

To conclude, 30% of the 199 titles were directed by women directors.

The export of French short films in 2019

This analysis is based on a study conducted with the participation of 295 French production companies.

733 French short films exported to foreign markets

1,687 sales concluded

€523,872 generated in sales revenues

519 foreign buyers

These figures are consistent with trends observed in 2018.

French distributors' market share of sales increased, reaching 85.7% of all sales.

2019 was a golden year for animation, with animated films surpassing dramas with the largest share of sales revenues (59.3%), while retaining their lead in the volume of sales (59.6%).

In terms of geographic regions, Western Europe remained the leading market for French short films, followed by North America (whose market share fell back slightly compared to 2018) and Asia (whose share, on the contrary, increased).

The United States returned as the number 1 export destination for French short films, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain.

The export of French virtual reality (VR) works in 2019

This analysis is based on a study conducted with the participation of 22 French production companies.

33 virtual reality works exported to foreign markets

174 sales concluded

€479 252 generated in sales revenues

99 foreign buyers

These figures increased overall compared to 2018.

Animated films accounted for 80% of the year's sales revenues, with ten sales concluded.

Asia took over from Western Europe as the leading export region for French VR works.

China is the new leading export destination for French VR works, followed by the United States and South Korea.

*No annual report was released in 2003 and 2007.

**BAFICI, Berlin, Busan, Cannes, Locarno, Rotterdam, San Sebastián, Sundance, Toronto, and Venice.

Territories related to this report: South Africa, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Ecuador, United Arab Emirate, Spain, Estonia, USA, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Montenegro, Nigeria, Norway, New Zealand, Paraguay, The Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Czech Republic, Romania, United Kingdom, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Geographic regions related to this report: Africa, North America, Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Worldwide, Middle East, Oceania.

Author : Andrea Sponchiado

Latest update : 28 January 2021 à 15:51 CET

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