French films, which have been performing consistently well in their home territory since the beginning of the year, have wrestled US titles' normally dominant marketshare down to 49% (compared with 62% last year) in the first nine months of 2001,

According with the latest estimations by the CNC (Centre National de la Cinematographie), French films have secured a 43% share of the market for the first nine months of 2001 (compared to 30.3% for the same period last year and 28.5% for the whole of 2000).

Four French films are currently topping the French charts - La Verite 2, with 7.9 million admissions; Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain (Amelie) with 7.7 million, Le PLacard (The Closet) with 5.3 million and Le Pacte Des Loups (Brotherhood Of The Wolf) with 5.2 million tickets sold - leaving the first US title in the top performers of the year so far, Planet Of The Apes, a distant fifth with 3.8 million tickets. Last year, only one French film, Taxi 2, managed to rank in the top ten.

At the same time, French cinemas are enjoying a bumper year as well, with national admissions for the first seven months running at 132 million, up 9% on the same period last year, according to the French exhibitors' federation.

French films are also having a vintage year abroad (see Screendaily Sep 25, 2001), with foreign revenues surging 40% compared to 2000, thanks to Les Rivieres Pourpres (The Crimson Rivers), The Closet, La Veuve De Saint-Pierre, Le Gout Des Autres Harry Un Ami Qui Vous Veut Du Bien, Brotherhood Of The Wolf and, of course, Amelie - which has just opened impressively in the UK as well as recording solid results in Germany: $9.8m and Switzerland: $4.2m.

Both Brotherhood Of The Wolf and Amelie are due for US releases soon : the former is to benefit from a studio release by Universal on Jan 11 while Amelie will be released on Nov 2 by Miramax, in time for next year's Academy Award nominations - in several categories besides best foreign-language film.