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Highlights - 14/05/2013


Early 2013: Results of most successful films released in France



Film news will soon be monopolised by the Cannes Film Festival. Before then, here is a detailed review of films successfully released in France since January, ranging from Blancanieves to Django Unchained and Wadjda to The Patience Stone.

Fifteen or so of the European films released since the beginning of the year have achieved more than 50,000 admissions. This was particularly the case with two Spanish films, Blancanieves (by Pablo Berger) and I'm So Excited (Pedro Almodóvar) and two English films Quartet (Dustin Hoffman) and I Give it a Year (Dan Mazer), all of which achieved an average of over 1,000 admissions per film theatre. Based on this criterion of success compared with the release scheme, Cloud Atlas, the German film by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis, was seen by 450,000 film enthusiasts following its distribution to a reasonable 160 film theatres. This was one of the best results during the period, along with the Swiss documentary More than Honey (Markus Imhoof) which exceeded 105,000 admissions. The new film by Margarethe von Trotta, Hannah Arendt, released more recently, was seen by over 151,000 filmgoers during its first 2 weeks of exhibition, making it a box office success already. In contrast, Searching for Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul), released on 26 December 2012, is still being screened in film theatres, being seen by more viewers week on week (169,000 admissions to date). There is no doubt that this film has benefited from the capacity provided by digital technology to cash in on the success of a film, allowing the distributor to expand distribution from just three theatres in the first week to 75 film theatres.

Sugar Man

At the end of March French films held a market share of over 40%, particularly due to the success of several family films such as Boule & Bill (nearly 2 million admissions) and Jappeloup. Several French films were also well received both by the public and critics. Such is the case with It Boy, Cycling with Molière and Under the Rainbow, all of which have achieved millions in admissions (or nearly, in the latter case) for releases at between 328 and 371 film theatres. Another comedy, The Gilded Cage (La cage dorée), released on 24 April, is also set to exceed one million sold tickets: this will be one of the year’s great surprises (532 000 admissions in 2 weeks). To a slightly lesser degree, some auteur films have found their audience spectacularly: these include Renoir, The Patience Stone (the « Coup de Cœur » of Europa Cinemas exhibitors at the last annual network Conference), Camille Claudel 1915, The Nun and Just a Sigh, with between 100,000 and 500,000 admissions.

Syngue Sabour

Two successful non-European and non-American films are worthy of special mention. With over 275,000 admissions, the third film by the Chilean Pablo Larraín, No, was a success for a director whose first two films achieved fewer than 30,000 admissions. And the results for Wadjda, the first film by the Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour, have exceeded all forecasts:  to date the film has been seen by 458,000 film enthusiasts, with over 5,500 admissions per film theatre.

In terms of American films, while Iron Man 3, the most successful release during the year, launched a season of particularly attractive blockbusters (After Earth, Elysium, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel), there are several encouraging results. Django Unchained, unscreened at festivals, exceeded expectations to become (by far) the most successful Tarantino in France with over 4 million filmgoers. The Place Beyond the Pines (Derek Cianfrance), Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh) and Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine) were also pleasing: they finished (or will finish) their screening at cinemas with between 500,000 and 700,000 admissions. On a smaller level, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky) attracted nearly 85,000 admissions (presumably mainly teenagers) at 25 film theatres.

Sources : CBO, CNC

Jb Selliez

Pictures from top: Blancanieves, Sugar Man, Syngué Sabour, Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas