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Industry / Market - France

Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...

298 feature films produced by France in 2023

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With €1.34 billion worth of investments, French film production confirms its dynamism and the strength of its pre-financing system, which includes streamers

298 feature films produced by France in 2023
The Count of Monte-Cristo by Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte, which boasts a large budget of €42.9 million

After a strong recovery in 2022, French film production has fully returned to pre-pandemic cruising speed with 298 feature films registered (including a record 18 animated features, 40 documentaries, which marks a sharp decrease, and 28.3% of films directed by women) last year, for €1.34 billion in investments (an increase of 13.6%), according to the 2023 report unveiled by the CNC.

This return to normality is marked by a very sharp increase in the number of films which are 100% French (178 in 2023, which is 35 more than in 2022 when they were at the lowest level since 2010) while international co-productions have decreased to 120 (24 fewer than the record-breaking previous year), of which 58 were majority French productions and 62 were minority French productions with 33 countries. Investments into these co-productions amounted to €464.68 million. Last year, the main foreign partners of French cinema were Belgium (29 FIF or French-initiative films, and 12 minority French productions), Italy (7 and 12), Germany (8 and 8), Spain (2 and 7), Canada (5 and 4), Switzerland (4 and 4), Portugal (1 and 7), and Luxembourg (5 and 1).

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It is also worth noting the persistence of talent renewal, since the 236 French-initiative films (FIFs) produced in 2023 include 75 feature debut (35.9% of which were directed by women) and 37 second features.

Regarding financing, €1.12 billion were invested into the 236 FIFs, with an average cost rising for the third year in a row to €4.78 million. 37 of these films benefited from a budget higher than €7 million, with 8 of them going above €20 million (notably The Count of Monte Cristo [+see also:
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at €42.9 million, the two parts of De Gaulle at €37.7 million and €37.8 million, and Beating Hearts at €35.7 million). It is worth signalling that low budgets have significantly decreased (44 films budgeted under €1 million) and, most of all, that the number of feature films budgeted between €4 million and €7 million has dramatically increased (56 FIFs against 33 the year before). Also known as “middle cinema”, this is where a great majority of the best French arthouse films appear. 

Details about funding sources for FIFs in 2023 reveal a historically high level of engagements from broadcasters (€383.87 million, an increase of 41.4% compared to 2022) who cover 34% of budgets. However, the share of mandates (theatrical distribution, home entertainment, international sales) continues to decrease and now accounts for 9.7% of budgets. The rest of the financing for FIFs comes from the producers themselves, who cover 38.8% of budgets (a share that is lower after the recuperation of the tax credit is taken into account), public support (8.3% from automatic and selective support from the CNC, and regional funds), foreign investment (6.3%) and Soficas (3.1%).

Among broadcasters, Canal+ remains the undisputed pillar of French cinema financing, with €154.11 million in pre-buying investments in 136 FIFs (to which we can add €6.46m for 13 minority French co-productions). Other pay channels rise up to €17.51 million for OCS (going to 25 feature films, 24 of which are FIFs) and to €14.8 million for Ciné+ (for 135 films, 123 of which are FIFs). A Pay TV landscape that will soon be reshaped by the scheduled purchase of OCS by Canal+. 

Of the free channels, France 2 is in the lead with €50.43 million in investments for 39 titles (36 of which are FIF), followed by TF1 (€50.2 million on 11 FIFs), France 3 (€24.4 million for 34 films, including 30 FIFs), M6 (€15.2 million for 8 FIFs) and Arte France (€9.19 million for 23 feature films, including 17 FIFs). The other free channels invested a total of €11.8 million with 16 films for TMC, 17 for C8 and 8 for W9.

In their third year as financing partners, SVOD platforms have financed 40 films in 2023, against 17 in 2022 and one in 2021. Their investments last year reached €48.23 million (against €21.01 million in 2022), with €31.5 million from Netflix (17 FIFs), €9.86 million for Prime Video (12 FIFs), €6.45 million for Disney+ (10 films, including 9 FIFs) and one film pre-bought by Max (HBO) which will be launched in France this summer before the Paris Olympic Games. It is worth pointing out that the platforms are sole broadcasters on only three of these films.  

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(Translated from French)

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