Female-oriented films enjoy a good first-half in France at the expense of Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

The French box office this year is relatively steady year-on-year, although 2009 is experiencing a slight dip compared to 2008. From January to June, just over 97 million tickets have been sold compared with just over 101 million in the first six months of 2008.

The 10 highest grossing films for the year to date (as of August 4) include three French titles and Pathé’s Slumdog Millionaire. Indeed, independent films in France are having a good year at the expense of some US
blockbusters: although Paramount Pictures International’s Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen opened at number one, it has not yet broken into the top 10 films of the year to date.

In 2008 there were only two French titles in the top 10 and they were wide-release blockbuster films: Welcome To The Sticks and Asterix At The Olympic Games. But in terms of admissions this year there is no local or foreign indie title that even comes close to Sticks, which had already enjoyed the bulk of its run by the summer of last year.

The top indie and French title as of August 4 is Pathé’s teen comedy LOL (Laughing Out Loud) with 3.6 million admissions. Released on a mid-range 403 screens, it is the third highest grossing film of the year to date, behind Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (4.2 million admissions, $45.3m) in second and Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs (6.2 million admissions, $59.8m).

Women lead indie charge Female-oriented films and comedies form a large part of the indie thrust this year. LOL is a film about women, directed by a woman, while the next indie in the list is Gad Elmaleh’s comedy Coco, distributed by StudioCanal.

However, in the top 30 films to date this year, there are only two non-French, non-US films: One is Slumdog and the other is UGC Distribution’s Swedish thriller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which has grossed $10.2m to date. The next highest-grossing international titles this year are Pathé’s Broken Embraces ($6.9m) and WDSMPI’s Ponyo ($6.9m).

Still to come are Cannes titles A Prophet by Jacques Audiard, to be distributed by UGC, and Les Films Du Losange’s Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon, directed by Michael Haneke.

Other notable titles yet to debut are Lynn Shelton’s Humpday, Christian Carion’s Farewell with Emir Kusturica and Guillaume Canet, distributed by Pathé, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs, distributed by Warner Bros, SND’s The Hurt Locker, Le Petit Nicolas and Marc Webb’s (500) Days Of Summer, to be released by Fox France.

  Title (origin) Distributor Box-office gross
1 LOL (Laughing Out Loud)(Fr) Pathé $21.4m
2Coco (Fr) StudioCanal$17.8m
3Slumdog Millionaire (UK)Pathé $15.4m
4OSS 117: Lost In Rio (Fr) Gaumont$14.9m
5Safari (Fr) Pathé $11.9m
 * As of August 4. Figures approximated on a $5.94 average ticket price