27/12/2002 - French cinema maintained its popularity with international audiences this year. According to the annual report by Unifrance , the agency for the promotion of French films and audiovisual products abroad, 2002 was a record year with a reported 40-million-plus people worldwide choosing to see a French film. This upward trend is a phenomenon of recent years after a long period of time when the 16-million-mark worldwide stood unbroken. In 2001, attendance hit a record 37.4 million, shooting up to 40.2 million for the January-to-November of this year, the box office equivalent of Euros218million.
French film is most popular in Western Europe, where 53 per cent of its fans are located, but the industry is fast making headway in Eastern Europe where it is now as popular as American cinema and like its US counterpart, occupies a 13 per cent of the market. Eleven countries reported attendance figures for French films of one million or over, they include Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Poland, Argentina and Brazil. Gallic cinema received a cool reception in the UK however, with a 2002 attendance of just 470,000.
Not surprisingly, the films targeting teens and younger audiences: Amélie (attendance: 10 million), Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, 8 Women [trailer], Wasabi, Tanguy, The Pianist, Sur mes lèvres [trailer] and L’auberge espagnol, to name a few, were the most popular.
French co-productions did not perform as well. Only 11.8 million people worldwide saw one, compared to over 25 million in 2001. The best performing co-productions were two English-language movies: Le Transporteur and The Pianist [trailer].
(Translated from French)