Reflecting the downturn at the French box office in 2003, French films took 60.6m admissions during the year - a 6.2% drop from 2002.

However, according to new figures from French film body the CNC, the market share of French films held firm at 34.8% - slightly up on 2002's 34.2%.

Nineteen French films passed the coveted one million admissions mark - the second best score over the past ten years.

American films' share increased very slightly by 0.4% to 92.3 million tickets sold for 53% of the market share, although only 11 films sold more than one million tickets. Four French films passed the 4 million admissions mark while only 2 American films can make the same claim.

Overall, the CNC figures confirmed the widely reported fall in admissions at the French box office in 2003. It said 174.2m tickets were sold, a 5.6% drop from 2002.

In December the dip was a slight 2.2% down to 21.42 million tickets sold.

If December was the month that most closely resembled its 2002 counterpart, May, September and November's numbers far outdistanced 2002's up 7.1%, 12.8% and 14.2% respectively.

May benefited from The Matrix Reloaded and X-Men 2 while September had Bruce Almighty and Pirates Of The Caribbean. November saw the biggest improvement via The Matrix Revolutions, Remy & Quentin, Finding Nemo and Kill Bill.

June, however, saw admissions plunge by 21.6% from 2002 and February saw an 18.9% drop.