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Studies & Market Reports

17 May 2010 à 12:36

French films register a downturn, while remaining in a strong position

Key figures for 2009: 67.2 million admissions, €350 million in box office receipts, 417 films on foreign movie screens, 1,328 films released, 9 films attracted over 1 million spectators.

67.2 million admissions: a decline of 19%, although results remain above average for the decade. Results in 2009 are the fourth highest of the decade, although attendance fell back 19% against 2008, which was a record-breaking year for French films. Box office revenues for French films abroad reached €350 million, a downturn of 16% compared to 2008. This decline was curbed by the successful performance of French films in territories in which ticket prices remain high (such as Japan and the United States). 417 French films were released on foreign screens, against 401 in 2008, a year with a particularly high number of releases. Never before have as many films been released abroad as in 2009, although, on average, films were released in fewer territories than in 2008 (1,328 titles released in 2009 against 1,423 in 2008).

North America sets the pace, Asia shows a strong uptrend, while a decline in other territories is cause for concern. Thanks to record admissions for Taken in the USA (21 million spectators), North America has taken the top spot for French film export around the world, outshining Western Europe. 2009 was an excellent year for French films in Asia (up 40.4%). In China, admissions rose by over 320%, with two of the four titles released attracting a million spectators. Japan more than tripled attendance figures of 2008, credited notably to the fine performance of Coco Before Chanel (629,000 admissions). Western Europe, on the other hand, saw a decline in admissions to French films throughout its territories, ranging from a significant downtrend (-13.6% in Germany and -30% in Belgium) to a drastic plunge (-40.3% in Spain, -61.3% in Italy, and -67.3% in the UK). Europe was by no means spared from the effects of the global recession in 2009, and suffered additionally from an absence of films with high commercial potential and problems of access to theaters. For the same reasons, Latin America (-49%), Oceania (-45%), and, above all, Russia, (-70%) also registered a considerable decline in audience numbers.

Nine films scored 1 million admissions. Nine French films topped the million spectators mark in 2009. The figure is lower than in 2008, when 15 titles managed this feat, and results for 2009 are slightly below the average for the decade (10 films). If we calculate total admissions for the top 20 majority French productions in 2009, we see that 11 films attracted more spectators abroad than in France. These films include all genres, from auteur films (The Class, I've Loved You So Long, Summer Hours) to films with more general appeal (Coco Before Chanel, Les Deux Mondes). We can also note a high interest in French animated films (Igor, The True Story of Puss in Boots). Taken, with its 31.7 million admissions score, stands out as the most successful French film of the decade. It also ranks as the second best performing French film abroad since Unifrance began monitoring film statistics, after The Fifth Element (35.7 million admissions). An analysis of films released according to their production language highlights the strengthening position of English-language films. In 2009, these films represented 58% of all admissions to French films. Nonetheless, French majority productions accounted for 90% of all admissions, against 49% three years ago.

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Latest update : 14 April 2016 à 12:36 CEST


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