Foreign theatrical revenues for French-language films has leapt 40% during the first seven months of 2001 compared to the same period last year.

According to a Unifrance report, Germany saw the strongest rise (178%), of the seven countries considered (Germany, Spain, the US, the UK, Italy, Quebec and Switzerland) which together represent 55% of the global results in the 34 countries monitored by the French export body.

Quebec saw the second best increase (143%), followed by Italy (43%) and Switzerland (41%). Figures for the US and Spain remained stable while the UK is the only territory where the performance of French films has been decreasing (a 32% dip).

Along with high profile thriller The Crimson Rivers, top international performers in the first-half included hit comedy Le Placard (The Closet), Le Gout Des Autres, period piece La Veuve De Saint-Pierre, low-budget serial killer tale Harry Un Ami Qui Vous Veut Du Bien, Merci Pour Le Chocolat and Sous Le Sable.

In the second half, potential top international performers include Amelie (already 1.4 million admissions in just three countries, including Germany) and fantasy/horror title Le Pacte Des Loups (Broterhood Of The Wolf).

French-language films are expected to reach 20 million ticket sales outside of France for the full year, according to the most conservative estimate, compared to 17 million in 2000.

The international performance of French-language films, which ranged between 15 million and 17 million tickets sold in 1995 and 1996, collapsed between 1997 and 1998 (12.8 million and and 13.1 million, respectively). It surged again in 1999, due to the success of the $39.4m (Ffr280m) Asterix And Obelix Take On Caesar, which accounted for 13 million out of 26 million admissions.