The number of films produced in France dropped slightly in 2009 according to the CNC’s annual report

In total, 230 films were produced in France in 2009, a drop of 10 from the previous year, but still up from 2007. Total investment in French film production for the year was Euros 1.1bn, a drop of about Euros 400m. While some of that investment came from abroad, total French investment was Euros 892m.

The drop in investments, according to the CNC, was in part an anomaly due to the fact that three films alone in 2008 represented a combined budget of Euros 180m.

On the contrary, the number of big budget films in 2009 decreased with only 11 films over Euros 15m compared to 18 the previous year. The biggest budget of the year was for Luc Besson’s highly-anticipated Adele Blanc-Sec at Euros 31.3m. There was also a sharp drop in films produced for under Euros 1m – from 44 in 2008 to 28 in 2009.

For the most part, mid-range budgeted pictures remained stable with decreases in the Euros 4-5m range compensated for by an increase in the Euros 5-7m range.The CNC also signaled that 2009 was remarkable for the number of first (77) and second (37) films, initiated by the French, which represented 62.6% of the total 230 films registered with the CNC.

In terms of co-productions, there were 93 in total, compared to 95 in 2008, with 34 foreign countries. Belgium and Germany were the most frequent co-producers in 2009 on French-initiated films with 21 and 8 films respectively while Italy sharply dropped down to 5 films from 13 the previous year. In terms of majority foreign films, Germany and Italy were the main partners.

Canal Plus for its part pre-bought a total of 134 French films in 2009 for a total investment of Euros 164.8m. That figure represents 18.5% of the total French investment in all films, up 14.2 % from 2008 and from 16.8 % in 2007. TPS pre-bought 34 films for an investment of Euros 11.9m. New entrant, Orange Cinema Series, pre-bought 13 films for Euros 7.22m.

The free-to-air channels financed 87 films at a total of Euros 110.9m. Investments from TF1 dropped 29.8% from 2008 for a total of Euros 37.6m, although the CNC cautions that – as is the case with all of the TV channels – the methodology used to calculate investments may be skewed by the timetable of each channel’s investment obligations. M6 also invested less: Euros 16.97m compared to Euros 21.16m the previous year.

Further, the global economic crisis, by way of its impact on the channels’ revenues, in turn had an impact on investments: The investment obligations are based on a percentage of annual revenue.

SOFICA investment was stable in terms of the number of films, 98 in 2009 versus 97 in 2008, while there was a slight drop in the total amount – from Euros 38.34m in 2008 to Euros 36.21m in 2009.

The CNC itself gave 44 films an advance on receipts (before shooting) for a total of Euros 20.07m, an increase over 2008’s Euros 17.69m.

The Credit d’Impot – designed to help stem runaway production – was accorded to 125 films. In total, films shot in France for 4,442 days in 2009 versus 4,996 in 2008. The new international tax credit (C2I) was not yet up and running in 2008 and is thus not yet accounted for.