Country Focus: France
The territories most partial to French cinema around the world
by Fabien Lemercier
- Thrust under the spotlight by UniFrance at a press conference organised during the 17th Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris, the 2014 results for French films abroad (read the news) trace a map of the world featuring the usual outlines, but nevertheless with several changes seemingly in the pipeline.
Western Europe is still the number-one market for French cinema in the world, having taken 33 million admissions in 2014 (29.8% of the total). The country most inclined towards French titles is Germany, with 8.63 million viewers (+113%) and a particularly good performance for the comedy Serial (Bad) Weddings [+see also:
film profile], which sold 3.7 million tickets in the country, rocking up in third place in the local annual box-office figures, all nationalities considered. French films also pulled off a successful 2014 in Italy, with 6.14 million admissions (+57%), including some very impressive figures for Belle et Sébastien [+see also:
film profile] (1.2 million viewers) and Beauty and the Beast [+see also:
interview: Christophe Gans
interview: Léa Seydoux
interview: Vincent Cassel
film profile] (800,000). Worryingly, on the other hand, French films have not been too successful in infiltrating movie theatres in the United Kingdom, with releases becoming rarer and suffering from ever-shrinking print runs. Lastly, it is worth noting that Western Europe is clearly the area most partial to French-language features (54% of the total number of international viewers of these films in 2014).
Last year, Central and Eastern Europe represented 12.1 million viewers (10.9% of worldwide admissions for French films), including 6.94 million for Russia. Lucy [+see also:
film profile] was a smash hit in this geographical area, taking over 5 million admissions, but we should also highlight the success seen by Nicholas on Holiday [+see also:
film profile] in Poland (more than 600,000 viewers), among other titles.
With 28.3 million admissions, last year Asia amassed 25.5% of the admissions for French films abroad. The spectacular increase in the results for China (5.2 million viewers in 2013, as against 17.4 million last year, with just eight films owing to the limits imposed by quotas) is obviously an important sign of things to come, and gives credit to the sterling work of the current CEO of UniFrance, Jean-Paul Salomé, who has constantly been increasing the number of initiatives targeting this country. In addition to the Chinese El Dorado, another record has been set by French movies in Vietnam, where they have exceeded the 500,000-viewer mark for the first time ever. Nevertheless, the results in South Korea were rather disappointing, despite some high-profile releases with large print runs.
In the USA and Canada, French films drew in 21.7 million viewers (19.5% of the 2014 international total) with Lucy playing a major role (racking up more than 16 million admissions), while Latin America provided 12.2 million viewers for French films (11% of the admissions for French films abroad, in other words), with Mexico acting as the spearhead (5.4 million tickets sold), Brazil growing dramatically (almost 4 million viewers) and Colombia taking over 1 million admissions. The global overview for French cinema in 2014 is rounded off by Oceania (2.3 million admissions, or 2% of the total) and Africa (1.4 million viewers).