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An avalance of prints


The number of film prints in circulation in France is growing exponentially. According to a survey carried out by specialist weekly “Ecran Total”, there has been a 35 per cent increase in print numbers since 1999.
Ironically, this state of affairs is a threat to the equilibrium of the Gallic film industry because the increase in print numbers is not balanced by a similar increase in the number of films released. (525 were released in 1999, 544 in 2000 and 506 in 2001) nor by an increase in the number of operational screens (a mere 5 per cent increase in the last three years).
It has become commonplace to see certain titles being released in thousands of prints but the downside is that their theatrical life cycle is severely curtailed. In December, 4 features are to come out in 3500 prints that will supply slightly more than 5300 screens: Harry Potter, Treasure Planet, The Lord of the Rings and 007 Die Another Day. This will inevitably create a huge release backlog that will prevent the theatrical release of a good number of films, while others will be taken down almost immediately. The French exhibition market was fully saturated in October when 9500 prints were released. Exhibitors continue to protest against the distributors’ strategies although everyone realises that there is no easy solution to this problem.

(Translated from French)

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