Investment in minority co-productions and big budget local films fell in 2013.

Total French investment in film production, at home and abroad, fell 7.2% in 2013, according to preliminary figures released by the country’s National Cinema Centre (CNC).

The figures confirmed anecdotal evidence that production levels have tailed off in the last 12 months and are also likely to add fuel to the local industry’s on-going debate about budgets.

According to the CNC data, total investment in feature films came in at €1.25bn ($1.69bn) in 2013, against €1.38bn ($1.87bn) in 2012.

Breaking this down, investment in “films of French initiative” fell by 4.3%, or €45m ($60m), to €1.02bn ($1.38bn). French investment in minority co-productions dropped by 18.4% or €50m ($67m) to €226m ($306m) against 276m ($374m) in 2012.

In total, 270 films were approved by the CNC was in 2013, against the historic 2012 high of 279, and 272 in 2011 and 261 in 2010.

French films steady, fewer co-productions

On a par with 2012, there were 209 “films of French initiative” in 2013.

Breaking this down, 154 were 100% French and 55 were majority co-productions, against 59 in 2012. 

There were 61 minority co-productions involving France against 70 in 2012.

Overall, there were 13 fewer co-productions than in 2012 although the levels still remain relatively high. The average for the decade is around 100 a year, split fairly equally between minority and majority involvement.

Budgets for local films down

The CNC noted that the average, or mean, budget for French films had fallen to €4.88m ($6.6m) in 2013, against €5.10m ($6.9m). It added, however, that the median budget had fallen by 22.5% to €2.49m ($3.3m) from €3.2m ($4.3m), its lowest level in a decade.

At the lower end of the scale, 54 French films had budgets under €1m ($1.3m) in 2103 and 79 pictures were made for between between €1m to 4m ($1.3m to 5.4m). 

In the upper echelons, there were fewer films with budgets in excess of €10m ($13m). A total of seven films were budgeted at between €10-15m ($13m-20m), against 15 in 2012, and 12 films were made for more than €15m ($20m), against 18 the previous year.

Shooting days

The number of shooting days for French films was stable at 6,099 days, for an average of 36 days per production.

There were signs that tax incentives introduced by the French government last year had encouraged local productions to stay at home. Shooting days in France were up 8.5% to 4,602 days while foreign shooting time was down by 17.8% to 1,427 days.

The CNC’s full report on French film production will be released in March. For the preliminary figures click here.