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Gallic ’04 film production stays even

French co-productions fell due to a new tax break

PARIS — French film production fared well in 2004 with 203 films, in line with the average for the past five years, produced on a budget of E1.048 billion ($1.4 billion).

The Centre Nationale de la Cinematographie, France’s film body, is due to unveil the figures to the industry today.

Some 167 French films were made for $1.194 billion, nine fewer than last year, repping a 15% increase in budget per film to a 10-year high average of $7.14 million. The other 36 films were minority co-productions, made for a total budget of $209.3 million.

French films relied less on foreign coin in 2004, which dipped 18.3% to $138.3 million. The figure nonetheless is a 29% hike on foreign spending in 2002.

French-led co-productions nose-dived from 78 in 2003 to 37, mostly due to a new tax break designed to keep Gallic production on home turf.

Tighter U.K. co-production regs also hit French films. The number financed with Brit coin fell from 23 in 2003 to 13 last year.

As ever, Canal Plus was the major single bankroller of local cinema, shelling out $163.2 million, 16.5% of production spend, on 112 films. Rival pay TV operator TPS invested $42.6 million, up 42.9%, in 46 films.

Terrestrial broadcasters, which also have obligations to invest in French cinema, spent a total $166.5 million, up 13.3%.

Budgets ranged from the year’s costliest film, Luc Besson’s $87 million animated kids pic “Arthur,” to 20 feature-length films or docus whose budgets came in at under $1.3 million.

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