Cinema attendance jumped 42% in France in February to reach 25 million admissions (compared to 17.5 million in February 2000), the highest level in 20 years.
Due to school holidays, February is traditionally a strong month at the box office in France. This year, however, the presence of no less than three French blockbusters: La Verite, Le Placard and Le Pacte Des Lloups in the theatres, combined with the boost provided by the loyalty passes which were launched at the end of March 2000, pushed the box office to new highs.
Le Placard, released January 17 had amassed 4.6 million admissions by February 27. Le Pacte Des Loups (The Brotherhood of Wolves) released on January 31, has ended up attracting 4.5 million admissions by the same date. La Verite 2, which opened on February 7 has, for its part, sold over 5.8 million tickets by the end of February, becoming Warner Bros.' biggest French box office success of all time.
This fully benefitted the French cinema market share, which peaked at 60% for the week ending February 23, compared to 35% for US films.
However, the bullish trend as far as French titles are concerned has to be put into context. In the past few years, French blockbusters (Le Diner de Cons, Les Visiteurs2 and Taxi in 1999, Asterix et Obelix Contre Cesar in 1999, Taxi in 2000) have had a ball in the first half of the year, but the French film market share has been crushed by the salvo of US blockbusters which opened in the second half. In 2000, French films' marketshare peaked at 51% in April, but ended up the year with a dismal 28.5%.