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FILMS France

World Audience of 48m

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After the exceptional performances of 2001 and 2002, the world audience for French films has dropped by 12% in 2003. But this drop hasn't had a big impact on French cinema, as it still had an estimated audience of 48 million and took €240m at the world box office this year. As a result of these figures, Unifrance has stressed that an important aim is to re-conquer the European marketplace, as the figures presented by the body in Paris yesterday show that French films showed their biggest drop in neighbouring European countries in 2003.

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There was an audience of 61.5m in 2001 (a record), 55m in 2002 and 48m this year: showing a very clear trend. Even though the results mean French cinema has had its best decade yet, it has dropped from the heady heights reached by Amélie, which was matched last year by Asterix & Obelix: mission Cleopatra. This hard landing back to the reality of the world market was stressed by Margaret Menegoz, the president of Unifrance, who noted that French films have seen a general drop in audiences in the biggest European countries in 2003 (between 8 and 15%).
But this slowdown in the market also hides some clear disparities, as well as significant recessions in many European countries . In 2003 French films lost 54% of their audience in Italy, 48% in Germany and Switzerland, while audience numbers dropped by 20% in Spain and 11% in Belgium. The one positive trend was in Britain, where a 166% increase in audiences for French films was registered. The figures in America are stable, though there are positive returns from Russia and Japan (+20% and +11.3% respectively).
The listing of the most popular French films in 2003 includes The Pianist [+see also:
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by Roman Polanski in the lead, followed by Taxi 3, Swimming pool [+see also:
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, Il popolo migratore and The Transporter.

Margaret Menegoz was also keen to stress that there could be a reversal of fortune in 2004, with the release of some potential hits, like Blueberry by Jan Kounen, Les rivières pourpres 2 d'Olivier Dahan, 5x2 [+see also:
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by François Ozon, Agents secrets by Frédéric Schoendoerffer, Deux frères by Jean-Jacques Annaud and Comme une image [+see also:
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by Agnès Jaoui.

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(Translated from French)

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