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BOX OFFICE France

204.47 million admissions to French theatres in 2018

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- While the number of French cinema admissions and the percentage of French films contributing to the country’s annual market share remain relatively high, an erosive trend may be lurking

204.47 million admissions to French theatres in 2018
Sink or Swim by Gilles Lellouche

In the French film-ranking war, which sees film distributors pitted against SVAD platforms – with Cannes Film Festival representing the annual battleground – 2018 attendance estimates published by the CNC provide some interesting points for reflection. With 204.47 million admissions last year (about €1.34 billion in revenue), French cinemas have maintained an undeniable stronghold, remaining the largest market in Europe, with Great Britain attracting 176 million viewers, Spain, 97 million, Germany, 90 million and Italy, 86 million. At first glance, attractive platforms, and Netflix in particular, which now has between 3.5 and 4 million subscribers in France, have not (as of yet) entered into full-frontal competition with French cinemas, and probably entail more of a direct threat to free and paid TV audiences, if anything (which may still ultimately have an impact on French cinema funding levels).

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However, despite, the overall good health of French cinemas, 2018 still saw a 4.3% drop in attendance compared to 2017, a year that itself was down 1.8% compared to 2016, with 2011’s record of 217.2 million viewers now seeming like a distant memory... The potentially negative impact of the FIFA World Cup and the yellow vest movement on attendance last year mean we’ll have to wait until 2019 for a definitive answer to the decline witnessed over the past two consecutive years.

When it comes to market share, French films attracted 39.3% of viewers in 2018 compared to 45% for American productions (in decline) and 15.7% for feature films of other nationalities (a net increase, thanks to British titles such as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald [+see also:
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). Three French films also made it into the annual top five: The Magic Tuche [+see also:
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by Olivier Baroux in second place (5.7 million admissions), La Ch'tite Famille [+see also:
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by Dany Boon in third place (5.6 million) and Sink or Swim [+see also:
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by Gilles Lellouche in fifth place (4.2 million), the top film in 2018 was the animated American feature The Incredibles 2 (5.8 million viewers).

In total, 11 French feature films passed the one million mark last year, with Franck Gastambide's Taxi 5 [+see also:
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(3.6 million), the animated film Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion by Alexandre Astier and Louis Clichy (2.7 million), Rolling to You [+see also:
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by Franck Dubosc (2.4), The Brand New Adventures of Aladin [+see also:
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by Lionel Steketee (2.3), Belle et Sébastien 3 [+see also:
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by Clovis Cornillac (1.68), Nothing to Hide [+see also:
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interview: Fred Cavayé
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by Fred Cavayé (1.63), Neuilly, sa mère, sa mère [+see also:
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by Gabriel Julien-Laferrière (1.14) and The Freshmen [+see also:
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by Thomas Lilti (1 million). Note that this is the lowest number of French films with more than 1 million admissions in the last ten years, due to a sharp drop in the number of titles in the 1 to 2 million viewer range.

Popular French and European feature films stretched well beyond comedies last year with The Sisters Brothers [+see also:
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interview: Jacques Audiard
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]
by Jacques Audiard (840,000 admissions), the Spanish production Everybody Knows [+see also:
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by Asghar Farhadi (829,000), Through the Fire [+see also:
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by Frédéric Tellier (790,000), The Trouble With You [+see also:
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interview: Pierre Salvadori
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by Pierre Salvadori (741,000), Dilili in Paris [+see also:
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by Michel Ocelot (619,000), Mademoiselle de Joncquières [+see also:
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interview: Emmanuel Mouret
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by Emmanuel Mouret (543,000), I Feel Good [+see also:
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by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern (527,000), In Safe Hands [+see also:
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by Jeanne Herry (537,000), The Apparition [+see also:
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interview: Xavier Giannoli
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by Xavier Giannoli (463,000), Custody [+see also:
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interview: Xavier Legrand
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by Xavier Legrand (377,000), Capernaum [+see also:
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by the Lebanese director Nadine Labaki (368,000), Little Tickles [+see also:
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by Andréa Bescond and Éric Métayer (359,000), Girl [+see also:
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interview: Lukas Dhont
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by the Belgian director Lukas Dhont (352,000), The World Is Yours [+see also:
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interview: Romain Gavras
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by Romain Gavras (338,000), Call Me By Your Name [+see also:
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Q&A: Luca Guadagnino
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by the Italian director Luca Guadagnino (333,000), Memoir of War [+see also:
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interview: Emmanuel Finkiel
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by Emmanuel Finkiel (330,000), Cold War [+see also:
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Q&A: Pawel Pawlikowski
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by the Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski (316,000), At War [+see also:
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interview: Stéphane Brizé
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by Stéphane Brizé (285,000) and The Guilty [+see also:
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interview: Gustav Möller
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]
by the Danish director Gustav Möller (270,000).

(Translated from French)

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