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ATTENDANCE France

More filmgoers in the Spring

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Despite a worldwide downturn, French film attendance was up in March 2003 although nowhere near the excellent results reported in 2002.
According to data just published by the French Cinema Federation (FNCF), 14.7 million entries were reported in March, a 13 per cent increase on March 2002. It is hoped that this will reassure industry operators after the disappointing start to 2003 (when a 13 per cent drop in attendance was reported for January followed by an 18 per cent drop in February). These results also underline the importance of Spring for the film industry, when schemes like the Euros3-per-ticket were instrumental in attracting 2.5 million people to a cinema between 16 and 18 March alone.

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That notwithstanding, a 9 per cent drop in ticket sales was reported for the first quarter of 2003, when 47.9 million tickets were sold against 52.5 million for the same time last year, when the Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra phenomenon took the country by storm.

In market terms, French titles managed to hang onto their 40 per cent share of the domestic market, the top performing films being: Taxi 3 - 6.1 million tickets sold; La Beuze - 1.9 million; 18 ans après - 1.5 million; 1 million-plus for Chabrol’s Il fiore del male, not to mention the outstanding Chouchou that was seen by 2.2 million filmgoers in just 12 days.

Not everything is coming up roses for French cinema however, and the list of this year’s disappointments is headed by Cedric Klapisch’s, Ni pour, ni contre, bien au contraire that barely managed to pull in 360,000 filmgoers and Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
which sold just 174,000 tickets in 12 days for 450 screens. European titles scored just 3 per cent of all ticket sales in the first quarter of 2003, despite hits like Peter Mullan’s The Magdalene Sisters [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, whose excellent word-of-mouth resulted in 500,000 people going to see this film over a 7-week period. Initially distributed in 85 prints, The Magdalene Sisters subsequently extended to 127.

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(Translated from French)

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