Country Focus: France
77.6m admissions for French film abroad in 2008
by Fabien Lemercier
19/01/2009 - Last year was a record one for French film abroad, as Gallic productions attracted 77.6m viewers according to estimates by Unifrance. This is the best score since data collection began 15 years ago. The 2008 results surpass the 75.9m admissions garnered in 2005 and show an increase of 16% compared to 2007.
Another record was also achieved: in 2008, majority French productions represented 86.2% of admissions abroad (62% in 2007 and 48.9% in 2006).
With 17.8m admissions (+59% compared to 2007), the US was the number one foreign market for French film in 2008, followed by Russia (8.1m). But Europe still dominates with 51% of foreign viewers of French film in countries such as Germany (5.6m, down by 7%), Spain (5.3m, +32%), Italy (4.9m, up by 53%), the UK (4.3m, +43 %) and Belgium (3.6m, +50%).
The list of best-performing films is headed by Babylon A.D [trailer] (10.1m admissions), Asterix at the Olympic Games [trailer] (9.1m), Taken [trailer] (8.8m), Transporter 3 [trailer] (7.3m) and Welcome to the Sticks [trailer] (4.1m).
Diversity shines through in the top 20 with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly [trailer] (2.2m admissions), Persepolis [trailer, film focus] (1.3m), Caramel [trailer] (1.1m), I’ve Loved You So Long [trailer] (1m), Tell No One [trailer] (945,000 after 515,000 in 2007), Couscous [trailer] (715,000), Julie Delpy’s Two Days in Paris [trailer, film focus] (660,000 after the previous year’s 1.6m) and The Class [trailer, film focus] (625,000).
On the institutional side, Unifrance’s annual budget will decrease from €10m to just over €8m, following cuts to funding from the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Unifrance will nonetheless benefit from a partnership agreement signed last Friday by the National Film Centre (CNC) and Ubifrance (the arm of the Ministry of the Economy for the international development of companies) in order to increase the promotion of French film and audiovisual production on foreign markets.