French films accounted for 40.2% of market against 45.3% for US pictures.

French theatrical admissions fell by 5.9% in 2012 to 204 million entries, down from 217 million the previous year, according to provisional figures released by France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC).

In spite of the dip the CNC said the results represented “an excellent year for cinema”.

“The result is well above the average figure for the last ten years and marks the forth consecutive year that the threshold of 200 million admissions has been exceeded (against the ten-year average of 193.2 million),” the body said in a statement.

The first part of the year – buoyed by Intouchables’ on-going success as well as titles such as Sherlock Holmes 2, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Houba! On The Trail Of The Marsupilami — proved more dynamic than the second semester when admissions stagnated or dropped consistently over the final six months of 2012.

In terms of market share, the CNC noted that French films accounted for 40.2% of the market while the US market share stood at 45.3% and films from the rest of the world took 14.5%.

Looking directly at admissions, the report revealed that entries for French films had fallen 7.7% to 82.3 million but remained above the ten-year average of 75.4 million while entries for US pictures fell by 7.0% to 92.5 million. Admissions for films from rest of the world rose 3.3% to 29.7 million against a ten-year average of 26.8 million.

A total of 12 films — led by Skyfall, with more than 6.5 million admissions, Ice Age 4 and Houba! — achieved more than three million entries. Another 18 pictures attracted more than two million spectators and 52 titles, 20 of which were French productions, sold more than one million tickets.