150.2 million admissions in the first three quarters in France
by Fabien Lemercier
- Building on the momentum of a very positive September, admissions in French cinemas have been consistently good over the course of 2016. A good piece of news worth analysing
At the end of a September which saw a 5.1% increase in admissions on the same period of the previous year, French cinemas have been going great guns throughout 2016 with a total of 150.2 million viewers in the first three quarters, 4.1% more than in the first nine months of 2015, with French productions holding 34.8% of the market (compared with 56.3% for American films and 8.8% for feature films of other nationalities).
These results confirm the state of health of cinemas in France and the public’s desire to see films on the big screen is obviously very good news, but it risks seriously complicating matters when negotiations start up again over a potential reform of media chronology. Indeed, the very good state of health of cinemas fuels the arguments of their representatives, who have clearly declared that they will refuse to consider allowing other forms of exploitation sooner (the main one being release to video, DVD and VoD, currently four months after a film is released in theatres). It does however seem pretty clear that some arthouse films (most notably non-national European films) that are ejected from theatres far too quickly (despite the efforts of the CNC with recent agreements securing programming and broadcasting commitments) due to the turnaround imposed by the huge number of new films hitting screens every week, would benefit from a prompter VoD release, including through geoblocking systems.
Moreover, the desire of Pay-TV channel Canal+ (the biggest financer of French film production) to have the date that it can start broadcasting content (currently 10 months after release in theatres) brought forward by a few months would obviously cause a domino effect, bring forward the release to video, a prospect that exhibitors refuse to consider at all. In short, discussions are expected to be very lively, with each sector sticking to its position in a situation that isn’t easy to decipher, with immediate economic interests not necessarily reflecting those of the future, but with future premises still too far away to contribute sufficiently to the funding of works to justify a complete overhaul of the current model. Nonetheless, it is hoped that some minor adjustments can be made, above all to protect the renewal of artistic talent, which needs a minimum period of time to develop (so funding and exposure) before maturing and reaching the point when individuals can bring distributors striking and original pieces.
(Translated from French)