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International box office for French films rose 19% to €405 million in 2011

Unifrance study reveals foreign admissions for French films rose by 10% to 65.7 million, but entries for French-language films down by 28%.

International admissions for French films rose by 10% to 65.7 million in 2011 for a 19% hike in the foreign box office gross to €405 million, Unifrance’s annual report on the performance of French cinema abroad has revealed.

According to the study released on Thursday, the figures masked, however, a “disappointing” performance for French-language films in 2011 in comparison with 2010.

The 25.2 million admissions for French language films accounted for just 38% of the total foreign entries in 2011, against a 58% share in 2010.

The report noted that only Nothing to Declare [pictured] had surpassed two million entries internationally, thanks mainly to its performance in European, Francophone territories.

In 2010, a number of French films performed well abroad including Oceans with 6.8 million foreign entries and The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, which garnered 2.3 admissions internationally.

“It’s the reverse of the situation last year when total foreign admissions were down but French language films performed well,” Unifrance president Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre commented to Screen.

“It’s makes more sense to look at this data over several years… but, that said, we’re expecting the situation for French language films to be reversed in 2012 thanks to titles such as Untouchable and The Artist,” he added.

Untouchable, he noted, has already racked up more than three million entries in Germany since its release there.

Breaking the figures down, the top five, performing majority French, foreign language productions were Colombiana, Carnage, The Artist, Sea Rex 3D and Where Do We Go Now?

The top five French-language pictures internationally were Nothing to Declare, Potiche, Of Gods and Men, Oceans and Untouchable.

The overall top five, including minority co-productions, comprised Unknown, The Three Musketeers, Colombiana, Nothing to Declare and Carnage.

In terms of territories, Western Europe remained the most important destination for French films, accounting for 44.1% of the entries, followed by North America with 36% against 23.5% in 2010.

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