In a special Screen International analysis of global cinemagoing trends, France has come out as the biggest international territory by admissions, based on record-breaking figures that saw more people go to the cinema in France in 2001 than in any year since 1984.

After France's 2001 total of 185m, the second highest territory by admissions, was Germany with 177.9m, which also had a bumper year in 2001, along with Japan (163m), the UK (156m), Spain (145m) and then Mexico (143m). Blockbuster local product helped to drive the market in all the top territories, especially France which had four French films in the year's top five.

Box office receipts paint a slightly different picture with Japan ($1.5bn) easily coming out on top, boosted by the world's most expensive cinema ticket ($15) and the success of Spirited Away, the fourth-highest grossing film in the international market in 2001. The UK ($1bn) is not far behind with British audiences paying some of the world's steepest ticket prices ($6).

Sweden is the largest Nordic market in terms of both audiences (18m) and receipts ($121m), while Poland (26m/$89m) is the biggest in Eastern Europe.

After Japan, South Korea comes in as the biggest Asian market (87.9m/$400.8m) on the back of a spectacular year for South Korean films which saw four of them break into the top 20 international titles of the year based solely on their home release. Mexico is the largest South American market by far and the sixth biggest in the world (143m/$434m).

With a population of just 19.5m, the frequency with which Australians attend the cinema has propelled the country into the seventh biggest market in the world (92.5m/$416m). Compare Australia's tiny population to Mexico (104m), France (60m) or South Korea (48m)

Over a period of three weeks, starting March 1, Screen International's weekly print edition will be looking in detail at the top international markets. The first instalment covers France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Next is Russia, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway and on March 15 the focus will be on South Korea, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.