French films see decline in Europe
by Fabien Lemercier
15/01/2010 - Although western European countries remain an essential territory for French films, with 17.5m admissions in 2009 (i.e. 26.5% of the world total), results saw a marked drop of 46% compared to 2008, according to estimates by Unifrance.
French features nonetheless stood firm on the German market, declining by only 10% compared to the previous year and garnering a total of 5m admissions. Among the best performing films are Coco Before Chanel [trailer] with 550,000 admissions, LOL [trailer] with 130,000, The First Day of the Rest of Your Life [trailer] with 110,000 and Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard [trailer], which has so far attracted 200,000 viewers in three weeks.
After a 32% upturn in 2008, French films plummeted by 70% in Spain last year (from 5.3m admissions to an estimated 1.6m). However, films that did do well include Welcome to the Sticks [trailer] (570,000 viewers), Coco Before Chanel (300,000), The Class [trailer, film focus] (220,000) and LOL (100,000).
In Italy, French films fell by 63%, amassing an estimated total of around 1.8m admissions in 2009, compared to 5m in 2008 (a year which saw a 53% increase). The number of annual releases of Gallic features dropped from 36 to 28 and not one title exceeded the 300,000 admissions mark last year, whereas six did so in 2008. On this territory, Coco Before Chanel drew 215,000 viewers, followed by Louise-Michel [trailer, film focus] with 102,000.
After a 43% upturn in 2008, French films declined by 71% in the United Kingdom in 2009, attracting around 1.2m cinemagoers. Noteworthy hits on this market include Coco Before Chanel with 500,000 admissions; Public Enemy Number One (Part 1) [trailer], which has so far amassed 125,000; and The Class with 170,000.
Finally, in Poland, The True Story of Puss’N Boots drew 600,000 viewers, Little Nicolas 400,000 and Coco Before Chanel 250,000.
Across the rest of the world, the United States remains the leading market for French films with 24m admissions in 2009 (+50%), including 20m for Taken [trailer] alone. A total of 30 Gallic features were released in the US last year.
But the best news comes from Asia: in Japan, French films rose by 90% in 2009 (2m admissions), while in China, they leapt by a staggering 418% (4.3m admissions for only five releases).
On the other hand, the economic crisis particularly affected the Russian market, which has been very buoyant in recent years. French films dropped by 70% to 1.9m viewers in 2009 (compared to 7.5m in 2008).
(Translated from French)