The box office saw a 4.2 percent rise over 2010 to reach a level of entries not seen since 1966, the CNC said. The number was also well above the average over the last decade of 191 million entries.
French-made films in particular gave the box office a boost, with entries for homegrown productions rising 21.4 percent last year to 89.6 million.
The share of French films in overall attendance numbers rose from 35.7 percent in 2010 to 41.6 percent last year. US films accounted for 46 percent.
French feel-good film "Intouchables" (Untouchables) - a buddy movie about a quadriplegic aristocrat and his black home-help - led the pack with at least 15.7 million entries in 2011, according to figures released on December 28th.
Comedy "Rien a declarer" (Nothing to Declare), a spoof on relations between the French and Belgians, came second with 8.1 million entries, followed by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" with 6.5 million.