French and US titles battle it out
by Fabien Lemercier
12/12/2006 - According to statistics published yesterday by the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), the market share of French films is estimated at 44.2% for the first 11 months of 2006, compared to 38.1% for the same period in 2005 – a result hot on the heels of the 45.1% market share held by US productions.
Strong performance by local productions in November strengthens a trend that could see French features close the season at a level not seen since the mid-1980s (see article). Nevertheless, the results should be analysed in detail to determine if the performance is a direct consequence of a dizzying increase in the distribution of French productions.
However, one result does not need analysis: after a fall in admissions in October (-9.3%), November saw better figures with 16.47m admissions, 13% higher than in November 2005. This increase brings the annual total to 167.5m admissions, a 10.4% increase compared to the first 11 months of 2005. Figures for December 2006 are the exact same as last year’s with 190.5m, which is the best result in the last 23 years after the record year 2004 (195.38m).
This proof of the excellent state of cinema in France and the popular potential of local titles owe much to the success of Rent A Wife [trailer] by Eric Lartigau, which broke the 3m admissions mark (€17.8m gross) in five weeks, and Guillaume Canet’s (Tell No One [trailer] (2.4m filmgoers in five weeks). Days of Glory by Rachid Bouchareb (see Focus) also clocked up 3m in 10 weeks, while Michel Ocelot’s animated title Azur and Asmar [trailer] continues to pack cinemas, with 1.2m admissions in six weeks.
Some European titles that have done well include Stephen Frears’ The Queen [trailer, film focus] (850,000 admissions) and Along the Ridge [trailer, film focus] by Italy’s Kim Rossi Stuart (see Focus), which opened on a modest 60 screens, attracting almost 105,000 film-goers in four weeks.
(Translated from French)