Posted on Oct 14, 2020 at 3:55 p.m.Updated Oct 14, 2020, 4:07 PM
Really, life is simpler without competition. The situation of French cinema remains extremely worrying due to the health crisis. But the absence of American blockbusters in theaters means that the tricolor seventh art, thanks to films like “Les Jokes de Toto” or “Antoinette dans les Cévennes”, has made more entries since the deconfinement. A paradox, but also an achievement, as pessimism was in order.
According to the National Center of Cinema (CNC), French films made 13% more admissions in cumulated in July and August compared to the same months last year, when American films saw their attendance drop by 88 %, and those of other nationalities by 28%. According to Comscore, French films did better than the average of the previous five years between July 14 and the end of August 2020, peaking at 70% more than usual for the week of July 29.
And as Eric Marti, director of Comscore in France explains, since the success of “Tenet”, the American film by Christopher Nolan released on August 26 and which has accumulated 2.2 million admissions, has dwindled, “French films are getting back on their feet” and are starting to make more entries again than last year. With films like “Adieu les cons” by Albert Dupontel, and “Aline” by Valérie Lemercier, upcoming releases are promising.
Overall in September 2020, according to CNC figures, French films achieved a 56% market share of 5.5 million admissions, or 3.1 million, against 44% of 11.2 million. last year (a figure at the very top of the range for the last ten years, according to the CNC’s 2019 report), or 4.9 million.
In any case, in terms of market share, the French cinema accumulates exceptional performances, according to the calculations of Comscore, a little different from those of the CNC. Basically in July, August and September, French cinema went above 45-55% this year, against 20% to 40% on average over 2015-2019. American cinema has gone from 55% to 75% to 27% -35%. It should also be noted that the share of foreign films other than American, for which France is one of the rare countries where success is possible, has jumped by ten points this year.
Global releases for blockbusters
As the postponement of the release of the new James Bond until April 2021 shows, American studios aiming for global releases are extremely reluctant to release their film this year. Much to the anger of theater operators, the release on their platform becomes a default option, as shown by that of “Soul”, the promising latest Pixar, on Disney + at Christmas.
Suddenly, French films are not only the default choice but they are better exposed and for longer. There were more than 9 French films at 500 copies this summer, compared to 2 last year. “The career of ‘Antoinette in the Cévennes’ shows that giving time to word of mouth pays off”, notes a specialist. Arts and testing rooms benefit from the phenomenon a little more than multiplexes. Although in smaller proportions than in a country like the United Kingdom, where multiplexes have taken more drastic closure measures.
Pay attention to the location of the rooms
“This situation is favorable for distributors and producers of French films who benefit from a good sale of tickets and the reopening of the CNC support accounts., explains Serge Siritzky, from the blog Siritz.com. But beware, the cinemas are in a catastrophic situation and many can only last until the end of the year with public support: if this is not renewed, many screens will close and French cinema will suffer. just as much as American cinema. “
It should be added that the air gap of confinement from March will probably not be compensated for and that for the overall cinema financing system, the plunge in cinema attendance (today around 50%) will inject less than revenue from ticket tax.