France's exhibition watchdog, the FNCF, has announced a 5% fall in admissions for 2003 - most of which was concentrated in the first half of the year.

With 175.5m tickets sold, first half numbers were down by 9.1% compared to 2002 while the second half of the year showed only a 0.04% decrease.

The FNCF noted that that Paris and its suburbs were the least affected by poor admissions with only a 2% drop off from 2002.

The FNCF estimates the reasons for the shift in attendance include "a less attractive offer than in previous years" pointing out that 2002's box office leader was Asterix And Obelix : Mission Cleopatra with 14m admissions while 2003's leader Finding Nemo only sold 8 million tickets.

As well, the FNCF pointed out that the war in Iraq, the summer's heatwave and an overall malaise in the cultural sector contributed to the drop in cinema going.

France's Top 10 films of 2003 (admissions)
Finding Nemo 7.9m
Taxi 3 6.5m
Matrix Reloaded 5.7m
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King 5.1m
Chouchou 3.9m
Pirates Of The Caribbean 3.8m
Catch Me If You Can 3.6m
Matrix Revolutions 3.5m
Jungle Book 2 3.3m
Terminator 3 3.2m