Film festival up against football fever
by Fabien Lemercier
23/06/2006 - The 22nd Fête du cinema, organised by the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), will kick off Sunday. During the three day event (June 25-27), film aficionados will have access to reduced rates in France’s 2,143 cinemas (5,366 screens). With the purchase of a full price ticket, each filmgoer will receive a pass that gives them access to all subsequent films at the reduced rate of €2 per screening. On average, a filmgoer sees 2.67 films during the event and 25% of filmgoers see more than four films.
The Fête du cinema, which garnered a total of 3.2 admissions in 2005 and which has attracted between 3-4m filmgoers since its creation (with a record 4.3m in 2004), will this year have to compete with the football World Cup. Although football fever did not prevent 3.3m film fans from participating in the Fête du cinéma in 1998, France’s qualification for a match on Monday or Tuesday could affect attendance at the lesser-known theatres. Moreover, six Kinepolis multiplexes have this year chosen to screen matches played by the national team.
At the start of the football World Cup, the number of filmgoers in French theatres recorded a noticeable drop in admissions of 16% from June 7 to 20. But the very positive trend since early 2006 (an increase of 22.2% of admissions from January to May 2006 compared to the same period in 2005) has prompted distributors to keep a high rhythm of releases (see news June 21) and to bank on high performing productions, such as Volver [trailer, film focus] by Spain’s Pedro Almodovar (see Focus), which exceeded the 1.5m admissions mark within five weeks of its release.
(Translated from French)