2003, the year of comedy
by Fabien Lemercier
- Light hearted films have won out. It was also the year that saw a resurgence for European cinema, with films like Taxi 3, Chouchou & Good-Bye Lenin!. This is what tickled the audience’s fancy
Apart from a drop in cinema audiences, 2003 was also the year when the public flocked to see comedies , with both national and European productions faring well. Out of the estimated audience of 175 million, around 35% opted for national films, and almost 4% went to see European films. These figures are very similar to the ones for 2002, especially when you bear in mind the general trend in the global marketplace, where audiences dropped by around 5 million.
Taxi 3 and it’s audience was 6.18 million was knocked off its long stay at the top spot in the 2003 French box office by the third episode of Lord of the Rings, which gained an audience of 3 million in just one week of release.
2003 saw 19 national productions that had audiences of one million or more. These films shared the first 44 places at the box office with 23 American films, one German production (Good Bye, Lenin! [+see also:
interview: Wolfgang Becker
film profile]) and a French-Canadian co-production ( Barbarian Invasions [+see also:
film profile] ). Most of the successful French films were comedies, like Chouchou by Merzak Allouache (with an audience of 3.8 million, in 4th place at the box office); the film that marked the return of Francis Veber, Ruby and Quentin (3 million tickets sold, in 10th place), La Beuze (1.9 million, at number 16) and finally Married for Seven Years (1.6 million, in 20th place). There were also excellent results for classic productions like 18 Years Later by Coline Serreau (1.5 million tickets) and Père et Fils by Michel Boujenah (1.14 million) to more modern films like Le coût de la vie (1.1 million), Laughter and Punishment (1.13 million), Mauvais esprit (1.08 million).
Looking at the figures it’s also fair to say that European cinema did well in France, faring better in 2003 than in the previous year. In fact 5 European films recorded audiences of more than 550,000 including 3 British films: Johnny English [+see also:
film profile] (an audience of 959,000); Love Actually [+see also:
film profile] by Richard Curtis (649,000) and The Magdalene Sisters [+see also:
film profile] by Peter Mullan, (566,000), one Italian (Respiro [+see also:
film profile] by Emanuele Crialese, (633,000) and one German film (Good Bye Lenin! [+see also:
interview: Wolfgang Becker
film profile] by Wolfgang Becker, which really made its mark on 2003, with an audience of more than 1.2 million.
The other European productions which made their mark on the French cinema scene in 2003 include one by another Italian director, Marco Tullio Giordana, The Best of Youth [+see also:
film profile] the hit from Iceland, Noi the Albino by Dagur Kari, the British film In this world by Michael Winterbottom, and the latest work by Lars von Trier, Dogville [+see also:
film profile], and Lucas Belvaux trilogy.
(Translated from French)
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