To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the annual French ticket-sale-booster Fete du Cinema extended its run from three days to an entire week. During it, French cinemagoers can obtain a pass which allows them to purchase tickets at 3 euros apiece, as opposed to the normal 10 euros in some Paris cinemas.
Over its normal three day run, the Fete can count on shifting close to 3m tickets. This year, it shifted 4.6m over the week 27 June-3 July, with the comparable three-day period up 30 percent, according to organiser FNCF (Federation Nationale des Cinemas Francais).
Who gained, though? French producers won’t be thrilled to find the chief beneficiaries were Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Ice Age 3; The Hangover (or Very Bad Trip, as it’s titled in France), and State of Play. The top French film over the Fete du Cinema period was Tellement Proches, followed by the cheeky little teen comedy French Kissers (Les Beaux Gosses) – looking as if it’s going to be the summer sensation there at $5.5m after three weeks. Lascars followed, but the last three films rounding out the top ten over the week were, again, Hollywood fare (Terminator: Salvation), and even Hannah Montana: The Movie.
The venerable Fete Du Cinema, at a quarter of a century, is a fantastic idea: However, with the Cultural Exception never too far away from French cinema sensibilities, it’s doubtful it was ever intended as a mechanism to pour more money into Hollywood’s coffers during franchise season.