Country Focus: France
2008 results (1): An unusual record year
by Fabien Lemercier
- With 240 features accredited in 2008 – including 196 French initiative films (FIF) – French film production has matched its 2005 record, according to the results presented to journalists yesterday by Véronique Cayla.
The Director General of the National Film Centre (CNC) nonetheless stressed that caution was the order of the day for 2009, due to the current decline in TV advertising revenue and the impact of the financial crisis on global film markets.
Boosted by record investment (€1.49bn), the excellent 2008 results mark an unusual year for three big-budget films distort the figures: Arthur and the Two Worlds War (€68.83m), Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard (€63.24m) and Oceans (€49.62m). The average estimated cost for a French initiative film (FIF) has thus risen to €6.42m (€5.58m without the three aforementioned titles).
The trend for bipolarisation of production continues with an increasing number of films made for over €20m (13 in 2008) and under €1m (44). There have been significant changes over the past ten years: films with a budget of over €7m – which represented 14.9% of French initiative productions in 1999 – today account for 30.6% (60 FIFs) and claim 74.5% of investments. And even though they haven’t decreased in number, medium-budget features (€4-7m) are attracting less funding.
Last year was also a record one for TV investments (27.8% of FIF financing) from Canal + (€173.9m), TPS Cinéma (€22.2m), Ciné Cinéma (€16.8m) and newcomer Orange (€31m). The terrestrial networks were not outdone, thanks to TF1 (€52.9m), France 2 (€39.3m), France 3 (€26.6m), M6 (€21.1m) and Arte (€4.2m).
Moreover, there was a major increase in contributions from international sales (12.8% of financing, i.e. almost double) and theatrical distribution (12.1%, up by 60%).
Finally, the CNC granted €69.88m in automatic support and €18.45m in advances on receipts. Meanwhile, 124 FIFs received tax credit and 97 FIFs benefited from the €38.34m invested by Sofica.