Taken 2, Intouchables and The Artist were key French exports and more than 144 million spectators for French films last year.

French-produced films enjoyed a record year internationally in 2012, according to a joint study by the National Cinema Centre (CNC), Unifrance and the exporters association ADEF.

“French films have never grossed so much internationally, or achieved so many entries,” said a note in the study, which is in its tenth year.  

EuropaCorp’s English-language Taken 2 drew 47.3 million spectators worldwide, feed-good comedy Intouchables, 31.4 million, and the silent, Oscar-winner The Artist, 13.7 million spectators.

The three accounted for 62.2% of the French film industry’s global receipts.

In total, there were 144.1 million spectators for French-made films. The report noted that French films attracted more cinemagoers abroad than at home in 2012, where they were seen by 83.3 million people.

According to box office figures provided by promotional body Unifrance, the gross global box office  in foreign theatres was €888m ($1.1b)

According to ADEF, the net total receipts for French-produced films were €211.3 ($282m) - 34.9% higher than 2011.

Breaking down the key destinations for French-made pictures, the study found that Western Europe remained the most important market, accounting for 42.8%, or €90.5m ($121m), of the total receipts.

Receipts in Germany grew by 72.3% to €34.6 and doubled in Italy to €9.1m. Swiss receipts, not including German-speaking territories, grew 108.8% to €9m.

North America accounted for 28.6%, or €60m, marking an increase for the region of 35.2%.

Asia accounted for a 7.2% of receipts, generating €15.3m in receipts.  

The report noted that The Artist achieved the record for the most awarded French film of all time while Taken 2 achieved the best ever performance for a French production outside France, coming out in 79 countries and generating 15 million more entries than for the original.

In total, 567 French titles hit foreign screens in 2012, against 501 in 2011 and 425 in 2010.