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BOX OFFICE France

213.27 million admissions in France in 2019

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- Cinema attendance figures in France reach their third best result in 54 years, with American blockbusters in pole position and French films accounting for 35% of the market

213.27 million admissions in France in 2019
Serial Bad Weddings 2 by Philippe de Chauveron

Going by the CNC’s estimations, cinema attendance figures were in a very healthy state in France last year, with an impressive 213.27 million viewers; that is, a 6% rise on the previous year and a sixth consecutive year in which cinema-going numbers have surpassed the 200 million admissions mark. It’s a result which takes its deserved place on the podium for the best results achieved over the past 54 years, on the heels of the 1966 outcome (234.2 million viewers) and that of 2011 (217.2 million).

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It’s true that the excellent health enjoyed by French cinemas was largely of benefit to the American film industry, the market share of which leaped to 55.2% in 2019 (from 44.1% in 2018). US productions accounted for 117.76 million admissions (their highest level since 1957) and bagged themselves eight spots in the annual top 10 films, including the first two places with The Lion King (10 million viewers) and Avengers: Endgame (6.94 million admissions).

The market share occupied by French film in 2019, meanwhile, stands at 35%, with 16 films having surpassed the one million admissions mark, notably the comedy Serial Bad Weddings 2 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Philippe de Chauveron, which ascended the third step of the podium with 6.712 million viewers. Other high-performing works include Little White Lies 2 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Guillaume Canet (2.8 million admissions), The Specials [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Éric Toledano and Olivier Nakache (2.064 million), In the Name of the Land [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Édouard Bergeon (1.968 million), School Life [+see also:
trailer
interview: Zita Hanrot
film profile
]
by Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir (1.8 million), City Hunter [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Philippe Lacheau (1.684 million), Les Misérables [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ladj Ly
film profile
]
by Ladj Ly (1.548 million and the best result to date for its French distributer Le Pacte), The Wolf’s Call [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Antonin Baudry (1.546 million), An Officer and a Spy [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Roman Polanski (1.435 million), Spread Your Wings [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
by Nicolas Vannier (1.428 million), Invisibles [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Liza Benguigui
film profile
]
 by Louis-Julien Petit (1.345 million) and La Belle Époque [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Bedos
film profile
]
 by Nicolas Bedos (1.237 million). Also worth a mention, in the realm of arthouse film, are the strong results achieved by François Ozon’s By the Grace of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: François Ozon
film profile
]
(915,000) and Nicolas Pariser’s Alice and the Mayor [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Pariser
film profile
]
(700,000).

This steady flow of viewers finding their way into French cinemas in 2019 proves beyond a doubt that the rapid growth of subscriptions to SVOD platforms (particularly Netflix, which boasts upwards of 6 million subscribers in France) has in no way diminished French audiences’ desire to discover films on the big screen. However, whilst a certain level of diversity does still endure - owing to the depth of French production and the proactiveness of distributers in the matter of international arthouse cinema - a closer look at 2019’s results reveals the overwhelming domination of (specifically American) formulaic event cinema and a widening of the ever-more significant gap which separates huge successes from out-and-out failures. This tendency towards a two-speed cinema which has taken root over the past few years is continually gaining ground and could spread even further once the ban prohibiting the advertising of cinematic works on TV is lifted (via a law to be implemented in the spring, though safeguards will apparently be put in place to ensure films by independent authors aren’t put at a disadvantage). It’s a situation worth following, especially as this legislative change should also shake up the French film financing landscape (read our article), which will inevitably have consequences for film production and, in time, cinema attendance.

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(Translated from French)

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