French films scored a healthy 53.7 million admissionsoutside France for the year 2007 with revenues of $369m, export body Unifrance announced Thursday.
But at home, the box office fell with local market share falling 36.5% from 44.6%, though admissions were still above average.
Unifrance's provisional figures, while above average for the past decade, are a slight drop on 2006 which saw 55.8 million tickets sold for just over $390m through Unifrance estimates that when all figures are in, last year may push ahead of the previous year - around 57 million tickets and $396m revenues.
Europe was the major market for French films with Russia leading the cause. Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK represented 15.3 million admissions.
Russia alone saw 7.3 millionfor French product - the first time, the numbers have been ahead of films from the US (6.8 million).
South America increased its French film going by 30% on 2006 with Mexico a leader at 3.7 million admissions.
In total, 292 films were released abroad in 2007, a slight drop from 2006's 298.
The most-seen films outside France were Luc Besson's Arthur And The Minimoys , Olivier Dahan's La Vie En Rose and EuropaCorp.'s Taxi 4 . Arthur took in more than 9 million admissions worldwide with 4.5 million for La Vie En Rose and 4.2 million for Taxi 4 .
Other films to have performed well included Julie Delpy's Two Days In Paris , Claude Berri's Ensemble, C'est Tout , Pierre Salvadori's Hors De Prix , Patrice Leconte's Mon Meilleur Ami , Guillaume Canet's Ne Le Dis A Personne and Xavier Giannoli's Quand J'Etais Chanteur .
Meanwhile, back at home, the 2007 box office reached 178.14 million admissions down from 188.71 million in 2006.
The drop was, in part, caused by a dismal November during which transit strikes throughout France brought the box-office crashing by 21.3% on the previous year.
The figures for 2007, however, remain above the average 177.3 million admissions registered over the past 10 years.
French film market share was also down to 36.5% from 44.6% the previous year. Indeed, 2007's top ten at the box-office was marked by a lack of French films.
Of the top-10, only two films, La Vie En Rose and Taxi 4 , were French. Conversely, in 2006, six French films landed in top spots. In fact, 2007 was the first year in the past decade wherein a French film did not crack the top-five.
Wild Bunch Distribution chief Jean-Philippe Tirel chalks up poor box-office performance in 2007 to a lack of big local comedies. 'There were no huge French comedies. Outside Paris, people don't go to the movies very often and if they do it's to see a big comedy,' he told ScreenDaily.com.
Tirel has high hopes for the coming year, however, and cites such films as the next in the Asterix series, Asterix Aux Jeux Olympiques along with Dany Boon's Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis, Fabien Onteniente's Disco , Eric Besnard's Cash , Philippe Harel's sequel to Les Randonneurs and Francis Veber's L'Emmerdeur along with his own company's Largo Winch as possible breakouts.
Wide Management chief Loic Magneron feels similarly in terms of a lack of big French films to lead the charge in the past year but he also believes that times are changing. 'We can't possibly think that box office will increase exponentially going forward given all of the other available media,' he insists.
The 2007 French successes of note which fared well but stayed outside the top ten included Ensemble, C'est Tout at number 12; Luc Jacquet's The Fox And The Child at number 16; Le Coeur Des Hommes 2 at number 17 and Claude Miller's Un Secret at number 20.
US films, for their part, had increased market share to 49.9% up from 44.2% in 2006. Ratatouille was the number one film in France in 2007 followed by Spider-Man 3 , Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix , Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End and Shrek The Third .
Amongst distributors, the players remained largely the same as in past years, although five of the top10 were French - six if the joint-venture of Gaumont Columbia Tri Star Films is included (see chart). Both StudioCanal and Wild Bunch Distribution made their first appearances in the top ten.
2007 box office
Ratatouille, dir. Brad Bird 7,778,767 admissions (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France)
Spider-Man 3, dir. Sam Raimi 6,329,783 admissions (Gaumont Columbia Tri Star Films)
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, dir. David Yates 6,187,010 admissions (Warner Bros.)
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, dir. Gore Verbinski 5,763,630 (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France)
Shrek The Third, dir. Chris Miller 5,515,176 admissions (Paramount Pictures France)
La Vie En Rose, dir. Olivier Dahan 5,228,405 admissions (TFM Distribution)
Taxi 4, dir. Gerard Krawczyk 4,562,928 admissions (ARP Selection-EuropaCorp Distribution)
The Simpsons Movie, dir. David Silverman 3,550,358 admissions (Twentieth Century Fox)
The Golden Compass, dir. Chris Weitz 2,712,569 admissions (Metropolitan Filmexport)
I Am Legend, dir. Francis Lawrence 2,534,083 admissions (Warner Bros.)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures France 15 films 20,080,196 admissions
Warner Bros. 22 18,586,882
Paramount Pictures France 28 16,600,071
Twentieth Century Fox 26 14,430,837
TFM Distribution 24 9,495,548
Metropolitan Filmexport 33 10,090,551*
Gaumont Columbia TriStar Films 9 9,275,035
Pathe Distribution 11 9,499,369
StudioCanal 26 7,750,542
Wild Bunch Distribution 12 6,949,888
*classification is based on all films released in 2007 as well as 2006 holdovers
Top 10 Films Outside France
Arthur And The Minimoys 9,058,033 admissions Euros 42,309,716
La Vie En Rose 4,555,166 Euros 17,290,232
Paris Je T'Aime 1,950,478 Euros 9,788,952
2Days In Paris 1,602,746 Euros 9,132,872
Ensemble, C'est Tout 1,369,509 Euros 8,415,878
Hors De Prix 876,836 Euros 4,362,931
Mon Meilleur Ami 724,806 Euros 4,015,068
Tell No one (Ne Le Dis A Personne) 515,451 Euros 2,987,530
Quand J'Etais Chanteur 504,326 Euros 2,886,539