The French box office is looking strong for 2010 on the back of Hollywood summer hits and local breakouts. By Jean-Philippe Guerand

Editor’s note: This includes brief highlights from the Russian analysis in Screen’s inaugural Local Markets Report.(For more info click here.)

France saw more than 200 million admissions in 2009, and 2010 looks set to be even better on the back of a strong third quarter. Though admissions in July posted a 12.1% loss compared with the same period in 2009, the end of summer was strong with a 16.3% increase in admissions in August, jumping from 15.1 million tickets sold in 2009 to 17.5 million in 2010.

French films making an impact in the summer against competition from Toy Story 3, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Inception were thin on the ground. Those which did draw audiences included The Italian (L’Italien) with 1.1 million admissions and Mathieu Amalric’s Cannes entry On Tour which scored more than 500,000 admissions. Bertrand Blier’s The Clink Of Ice was released on August 25 and should reach 700,000 admissions.

One surprise hit was Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods And Men, which premiered in Competition at Cannes. Released on September 8, the film saw 467,950 admissions in its first week, 480,944 in its second and 456,929 in its third. As a result, Mars Distribution expanded its prints from 252 to 424 and then to 442.

Extract: In Focus – EuropaCorp

Founded in September 2000 by Luc Besson and Gaumont producer Pierre-Ange le Pogam, EuropaCorp made significant organisational changes on the eve of its 10th birthday. It appointed a new CEO, Christophe Lambert, as well as a new head of the film department, Jean de Rivieres.

The company is also gearing up for the 2012 opening of Cinema City, the single-site studio, production offices and post-production facilities Luc Besson has been planning for several years and in which his company is investing $8.5m (€6m).

EuropaCorp has always wanted to play on the international stage and has achieved many successes outside France including Taken (pictured) which recorded a worldwide box-office of $224m. The company’s line-up for 2011 includes Colombiana, a $40m English-language film starring Zoe Saldana, and Lock Out, a $30m film starring Guy Pearce and Maggie Grace to be co-directed by Stephen St Leger and James Mather.

EuropaCorp is also investing in 3D animation with two major projects already in production: A Monster In Paris by French director Bibo Bergeron (Shark Tale) and The Mechanics Of The Heart.

Industry round-up

The local markets report includes Industry news and production digests

  • During the 65th French Exhibitors Congress in Deauville (September 20-23), culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand announced the state will provide a $178m (€125m) grant to help around 1,000 French film theatres install digital technology, covering about 90% of their technical expentise.

  • Mathieu Kassovitz is directing L’Ordre Et La Morale, the story of the dramatic hostage-taking by Kanak separatists in New Caledonia in the springof 1988. French release: September 21, 2011. Co-production partners: Nord-Ouest Films, UGC Images, Studio 37, France 2 Cinéma.

  • Set for French release on December 8 is Full Treatment (De Vrais Mensonges) starring Audrey Tautou. The comedy romance is directed by Pierre Salvadori. (who worked with Tautou on Priceless). Nathalie Baye and Sami Bouajila co-star. Wild Bunch is handling international sales.
French Films overseas July-August 2010  
RankTitleAdmissionsDate-range Gross ($)Terrs
1The Extraordinary… Blanc-Sec2,291,153$14.1m3
4The Ghost Writer437,475$3.8m11
5The Concert414,017$3.7m7
7Solomon Kane317,465$2.8m1
9Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky209,412$1.8m4
10Little Nicholas146,807$1.2m3

€1 = $1.42      Source: Unifrance Film International

Month20092010% Change
Source: CNC