Initial estimation at 48 million admissions.
For the 11-month period between January and November 2003, admissions to French films abroad are estimated at 37 million spectators, with box office receipts totaling 205 million euros (taken from comparative studies of 27 countries).
Based on these estimates, we can expect at the end of December a total of around 48 million admissions for 2003, with box office takings in the region of 240 million euros.
With 48 million movie tickets sold abroad, French films would achieve above average results compared to the 1995-2000 period, although under the record-breaking figures of 2001 (60 million admissions) and 2002 (55 million admissions). In 2002, for the same period and the same territories, French films tallied 42.2 million admissions, with box office takings totaling 233 million euros.
We can thus observe a decline of 12% in movie attendance and box office receipts between 2002 and 2003.
The first factor responsible for this development is the overall state of the major European markets at this time, in which movie attendance in 2003 shows a decline of between 8% and 15% according to the country. Since Europe plays a key role in results for French films, accounting for 50% of admissions, this undoubtedly temporary downtrend obviously has a significant impact on the figures for French productions abroad..
Nonetheless, results for French films show considerable variation from one country to another. The current trend confirms a sharp downslide in results in France’s major European neighbors: Germany (-48%), Italy (-54%), Spain (-20%), Belgium (-11%), and Switzerland (-48%). This decline is in fact partially compensated for by good results in certain territories whose role in our results is becoming increasingly significant: the U.S.A. (stable), Japan (+113%) and Russia (+20%). Added to this is a significant revival in results in the U.K. (+166%).
The second factor contributing to this phenomenon: 2003 has been marked by a fall in the number of French titles appealing to younger audiences, that is, films with strong commercial potential. Whereas 2002 boasted 29 titles earning more than 1 million euros in international box office receipts (for a total of 222 million euros), 2003 has offered up just 22 titles at this level, for a total of 186 million euros. This 36 million euro differential in receipts for the major films released explains the fall in box office takings in 2003, which stands at this time at around 28 million euros (with an increase in movie ticket prices reducing the overall decline in results).
How is this geographic distribution of results explained?
Due to the fall in the number of popular-appeal titles released, the standout performers of the year were, notably, three English-language French films whose results in North America significantly swelled the figures: “The Pianist” by Roman Polanski, “Swimming Pool” by François Ozon and “The Transporter” by Louis Leterrier. Also featuring in the Top 5 titles are “Taxi 3,” which has hurtled full throttle through Asia and Eastern Europe, and the international hit film, “The Travelling Birds” (also released as “Winged Migration”). The more artistic bent of these films can explain the strong representation of English-speaking territories and Asian countries in the results, and, consequently, the temporary downturn in results for Europe.
What awaits French films in 2004?
For the past few years, the international market for French films has reflected the domestic market, with around a 6-month delay period. We can therefore predict that results for French films abroad will pick up toward the end of the first 6 months of 2004, coinciding with the international release of a large number of titles slated for release in France in the first quarter of the year.
As of January 2004, we can already count 35 films awaiting release in at least 10 territories around the world. Of these, the most prominent titles to hit the screens in the first quarter of 2004 include: “5x2” by François Ozon, “Agents secrets” by Frédéric Schoendoerffer, “Anatomie de l’enfer” by Catherine Breillat, “Blueberry” by Jan Kounen, “Comme une image” by Agnès Jaoui, “Confidences trop intimes” by Patrice Leconte, “Les Dalton” by Philippe Haïm, “Danny the Dog” by Louis Leterrier, “Deux frères” by Jean-Jacques Annaud, “Les Fils du vent” (aka “The Great Challenge”) by Julien Séri, “Immortel” by Enki Bilal, “Nathalie” by Anne Fontaine, “Les Rivières pourpres 2” ( “The Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse”) by Olivier Dahan, “RRRrrr…” by Alain Chabat and “Triple agent” by Éric Rohmer. And there are, of course, a number of titles released in 2003 which have already set out on their international careers, notably: “18 ans après” by Coline Serreau, “Amen” by Costa Gavras, “Euro Pudding” (aka “The Spanish Apartment”) by Cédric Klapisch, “Bon Voyage” by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, “Choses secrètes” (“Secret Things”) by Jean-Claude Brisseau, “Corto Maltese” by Pascal Morelli, “Décalage horaire” (“Jet Lag”) by Danièle Thompson, “Depuis qu’Otar est parti” (“Since Otar Left”) by Julie Bertuccelli, “Haute tension” (“Switchblade Romance”) by Alexandre Aja, “Jeux d’enfants” (“Love Me If You Dare”) by Yann Samuell, “Kaena, la prophétie” (“Kaena: The Prophesy”) by Chris Delaporte and Pascal Pinon, “Michel Vaillant” by Louis-Pascal Couvelaire, “Le Papillon” (“The Butterfly”) by Philippe Muyl, “Pas sur la bouche” by Alain Resnais, “Père et fils” by Michel Boujenah, “La Petite Lili” by Claude Miller, “La Prophétie des grenouilles” by Jacques-Rémy Girerd, “Qui a tué Bambi?” (“Who Killed Bambi?”) by Gilles Marchand, “Les Ripoux 3” by Claude Zidi, “Tais-toi” by Francis Veber and “Les Triplettes de Belleville” (“The Triplets of Belleville”) by Sylvain Chomet.
Unifrance takes into account results for French films in line with CNC-authorized classifications. These results are gathered outside France. For comparative results for the 2002-2003 period (see the attached document entitled "Publication," which can be downloaded at the bottom of this page), only 27 sample countries were used for evaluation: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, the U.K. and the U.S.A. These countries were selected as their results were already available and possible to evaluate comparatively.
As regards evaluations for the top performing films, figures presented for 2003 concern the period between January 1st and November 30. Complete results for these films, some of which were released in 2002, are provided separately.
Magali Montet, Communications Director
Tel: 0(33 1) 47 53 27 41 – Fax: (33 1) 47 53 27 44
Latest update : 23 April 2009 à 13:02 CEST