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Industry / Market - France

Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming

French film earns €167.4 million abroad in 2022

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The circulation of French films in cinemas around the world picked back up again last year, and is gaining strength on SVOD platforms too

French film earns €167.4 million abroad in 2022
Serial (Bad) Weddings 3 by Philippe de Chauveron

Things are clearly on the up, but there’s still a way to go before we get back to the sunnier days of pre-pandemic times, according to the 2022 report of French films’ performance abroad, which was unveiled today within the 25th Unifrance Film Meetings (unspooling in Paris from 10 to 17 January).

French films earned a total of €167.4m (provisional figure) in foreign revenue in 2022 (i.e. 27 million admissions), recorded across 2,132 film releases. This result, which is a sharp 51.8% increase on the previous year, is nonetheless 32.5% lower than the average level of the last decade, and these trends are fairly similar to the figures recently unveiled by the CNC vis-à-vis cinema attendance in France in 2022: there were 151.97 million cinema attendees in France, which is up 59.2% on 2021 and down 26.9% on the pre-Covid period.

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Of the 27 million admissions recorded by French film all over the world last year, 17 million relate to majority French productions (notably Serial (Bad) Weddings 3 [+see also:
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film profile
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with 1.82 million viewers, Pil’s Adventures [+see also:
trailer
film profile
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with 1.32 million and The Wolf and the Lion [+see also:
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film profile
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with 1.26 million) while 19.6 million admissions were achieved by French-language productions. Films geared towards youngsters and families fared best in the global context of gradual cinema recovery, as proven by the breakdown of admissions by genre: 39.7% for comedies, 24.5% for animation, 14.2 % for dramas, 13.4% for adventure films, detective movies and thrillers, 4.1% for fantasy, horror and science-fiction, 2.5% for biopics, war films and historical titles, and 1.6% for documentaries.

Equally noteworthy is the fact that seven French feature films surpassed the one-million-admissions mark abroad last year, while 47 attracted over 100,000 admissions.

For the 7th consecutive year, it’s Western Europe which leads the pack, accounting for 45.2% of foreign admissions recorded by French films last year (that is, 12.2 million viewers). Cinema attendance in this region grew by 81.8 % on 2021 but is still down by 43.1% on 2019. Last year saw Germany become the most favourable soil for French film with 2.82 million admissions, while another five Western European countries also feature in the top 10 foreign hosts of that year.

Central and Eastern Europe account for 26.1% of French film admissions abroad, which is its biggest ever market share in this domain. In Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia too, French film attracted more viewers in 2022 than in 2019.

Latin America comes next with 12.7% (with Mexico leading the region, and higher admissions on 2019 for French films in Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela), followed by the USA /Canada zone (6.6%), Asia (5.7%, in other words, an incredibly weak year marked by the impact of the pandemic, with only two film releases in China, but promises of recovery in Thailand and unprecedented success since 2015 in Vietnam), Oceania (1.9%) and the Africa and Middle East zone (1.8%).

Screening of French films in cinemas is slowly picking up, but their presence on SVOD platforms is also gaining ground. France is the third best represented production country in this category, with 6.5% of French films and products available via these providers. Global platforms’ catalogues actually offer up 6.9% of French films: 31.3% in terms of MUBI, 10.3% for Curiosity Stream, 6.3% for Netflix, 4.4% for Amazon Prime Video and 3.6% for HBO Max. And French films are clearly winning over subscribers, given that the top 10 non-Anglophone films on Netflix, for example, includes seven French titles: Athena [+see also:
film review
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interview: Romain Gavras
film profile
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, Lost Bullet 2: Back For More, Big Bug, Dangerous Liaisons, The Takedown, Restless and No Limit. They’re results which bode well in a context of local film production by platforms, notably incentivised by newly introduced European funding obligations.

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