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Gaul grosses drop abroad

Top pics include 'Two Brothers,' 'Crimson Rivers 2'

PARIS — Gallic films’ overseas box office fell 11% in the first 11 months of 2004 to $228 million, France’s film promotional org Unifrance said Wednesday.

The figure includes a dip to $52 million from $67 million in U.S. grosses.

But with “A Very Long Engagement” and “Les Choristes” just starting to unspool abroad, Unifrance expects the year-end figure to reach a 10-year average of around $268 million, or 40 million admissions.

The foreign B.O. top five were Jean-Jacques Annaud’s English-lingo pic “Two Brothers,” “Crimson Rivers 2,” “Les Choristes,” “Monsieur Ibrahim” and “The Triplets of Belleville.”

Germany, the U.S., Italy and Japan were the biggest consumers of Gallic fare, Unifrance said, with Europe accounting for half of the total.

While admissions rose 93% in Germany as more French films were released there this year, box office in Japan was down from $47 million last year to $16 million.

One reason for the drop is that in 2003, the French releases included a couple of English-language films, Roman Polanski’s “The Pianist” and Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool.”

So far this year, 330 French films have been released in territories around the world.

Unifrance also published a survey concluding that Gallic films boost France’s tourist trade.

Nearly six out of 10 foreign tourists quizzed in Paris recently said watching French films back home had made them want to visit France.

Some 57% had seen Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie,” while nearly five out of 10 had seen “Taxi.”

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