French films enjoy surge in popularity in France (but US movies suffer)

The popularity of French films is on the rise in France, while Gallic interest in US movies drops, new figures reveal.

French films enjoy surge in popularity in France (but US movies suffer)
Photo: Frédéric BISSON/Flickr
France is known for being a nation of cinephiles and in 2017 it was French films that proved the most popular.
According to the latest figures from the French centre for cinema, the CNC French films increased their market share to 37.4 percent of cinema tickets sold in France in 2017, representing a rise of 2.6 percent on the previous year.    
This amounted to 78.2 million ticket sales for French films in France in 2017 — the highest share the country's own films have enjoyed since 2014 — out of a total of 209.2 million. 
The cast of Luc Besson's Valerian. Photo: AFP
Films including Dany Boon's police comedy RAID Dingue, Luc Besson's space epic Valerian, Philippe Lacheau's and Eric Toledano's C'est la vie! helped contribute to the stellar year for French movies. 
On top of that, French cinemas enjoyed their third highest year for admissions in the past 50 years and the industry marked its fourth year in a row that more than 200 million ticket sales were recorded. 
“Movie theater attendance remains at a particularly high level,” said Frédérique Bredin, president of the CNC.
“After an exceptional 2016, spectators have once again benefited from an impressive offer of French films very rich in all genres,” he added. 
However it wasn't such good news for the US film industry, with the popularity of American films in France falling by 8.6 percent, representing a share of 48.8 percent in 2017 compared to 52.4 percent in 2016. 
Unsurprisingly one of the two US films that did draw in the crowds was Star Wars: The Last Jedi which sold 5.2 million tickets, coming second to Despicable Me which sold 5.6 million tickets in France.  
The news will no doubt be welcomed by France's film industry which in 2013 was facing a different situation, with audiences turning their backs on French films. 
Indeed in 2015, French film bashing went viral in its home country as social media users flocked to take aim at the most embarrassing aspects of their nation's cinema.


French film club for English speakers returns to cinemas

Lost in Frenchlation, a film club that screens French films with English subtitles in Paris, is returning to cinemas this weekend after holding virtual screenings during lockdown.

French film club for English speakers returns to cinemas

Wednesday saw the reopening of cafés, restaurants, museums, theatres and cinemas in France since October.

This means that Lost in Frenchlation can return to cinemas, and film buffs who struggle to watch French movies without English subtitles can meet up again this weekend at the Luminor Hotel de Ville where the first screening is taking place this Sunday.

READ ALSO: French cinemas face 400-film backlog as they prepare to reopen

What’s on the programme?

The first event taking place on Sunday, May 23rd is a screening of Albert Dupontel’se César awarded film “Adieu les cons” (Bye bye Morons), a comedy drama about a woman who tries to find her long-lost child with a help of a man in the middle of a burnout and a blind archivist.

On Sunday, May 30th there will be a Mother’s Day special screening of “Énorme”, comedy, starring Marina Foïs and Jonathan Cohen, at Club de l’Étoile in the 17th arrondissement in Paris. 

On Saturday, May 22nd, there will be a virtual screening of “Joli Mai” by Chris Marker (1963) which inspired the documentary film Le Joli Mai 2020. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Chris Marker specialist & journalist Jean-Michel Frodon.

Lost in Frenchlation is a company that sets up screenings of recent French film releases with English subtitles to give Paris’s large international community access to French culture and meet others in the same situation.

For more information, check out their website or sign up to their newsletter (link here).