SCREEN SUBSCRIBERS: US blockbusters and animation loom large but local comedies also have their say.
Feature-length animation hits Minions and Inside Out joined US blockbuster titles Fast & Furious 7 and Jurassic World to buoy up the French box office in the first 10 months of 2015 alongside local breakout hit La Famille Bélier, which was released at the end of last year.
Overall admissions look set to dip slightly in 2015 against 2014, when ticket sales rebounded 7.7% to 208.4 million (against 193.56 million in 2013), making it the second best year at the box office in 47 years — after 2011, when French theatres sold 217 million tickets.
According to preliminary figures for the first 10 months of 2015 released by the CNC on November 6, admissions up until the end of October stood at 163.7 million, down 3.5% on the same period in 2014, by which point 169.7 million tickets had been sold.
But a number of high-profile blockbuster titles are set to hit French screens in the last two months of the year, including Spectre (Nov 11) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 (Nov 18) and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (Dec 16), and this could help lift admissions to 2014 levels. However, it is not known what impact the Paris terrorist attacks will have on cinema-going in France for the rest of the year.
Ticket sales in 2015 are expected to at least top 200 million admissions, which is well above the annual average for the last decade of around 197 million. Yet the box-office share of local productions for the first 10 months of the year stood at 36%, against 44.6% for the same period in 2014. This year, Eric Lartigau’s comedy drama La Famille Bélier, about a young girl with musical aspirations growing up with deaf parents and siblings, is France’s homegrown market leader; albeit with only just over half the admissions of last year’s huge hit Serial (Bad) Weddings.
Released mid-December 2014, it has garnered 5.23 million admissions in 2015, for a total of 7.45 million overall.
The other two French productions making it to the top 10 for 2015 are comedies The New Adventures of Aladdin and Serial Teachers 2 (Profs 2).
The former, which was released during France’s autumn school break, drew some 3.5 million admissions in just three weeks and could easily continue gathering steam into the Christmas holidays. Both films star popular French actor Kev Adams, a big draw for children and families alike.
What’s more, Minions (6.4 million), officially classified as a US production, was co-directed by France’s Pierre Coffin and much of the animation was done at Paris-based Illumination Mac Guff, a subsidiary of Universal Studios-backed Illumination Entertainment.
Other officially French productions enjoying box-office success include EuropaCorp’s Taken 3 (2.6 million), Mark Osborne’s The Little Prince (1.8 million), which was lead produced by Dimitri Rassam and Aton Soumache’s Paris-based Onyx Films, and Dominique Farrugia’s BIS, starring Franck Dubosc and Kad Merad as friends who travel back in time to when they were 17.
The only French arthouse title making the top 50 is Stéphane Brizé’s The Measure Of A Man, boosted by great reviews at Cannes and Vincent Lindon’s best actor Palme d’Or for his performance as a man trying to make ends meet as a supermarket security guard.
Tables supplied by Rentrak