French films have carved out a massive 54% local market share in the first five months of 2001, according to new data released by the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC).

The tally roundly beats the 34% recorded during the same period last year, itself well above the annual average market share of 30%.

In a bullish exhibition market, a record seven French titles are currently in the top ten for 2001. Four of these films, La Verite 2, The Closet, Brotherhood Of The Wolf and Amelie, have now pulled in more than 5 million admissions each.

Only three US titles, 102 Dalmatians, What Women Want and Hannibal managed to rank in the top ten, keeping out three other French films - Yamakasi, Un Crime Au Paradis and Belphegor.

Overall admissions in France grew 12% in the first five months of the year. French box-offices punched 86.5 million tickets during the period, compared to 77.5 million for the same period last year.