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Local laffers good for Gaul

French box office up 22%

Local fare outperformed Hollywood pics, driving a 22% hike in Gallic B.O. admissions in the first five months of this year to a total of 91.1 million tickets sold, according to figures released Tuesday.

“Friends Forever,” a 25-years-on sequel to the cult “Les Bronzes” comedy franchise, and “Camping,” another laffer set on a Gallic camp site, helped push up French cinema’s market share to 49.3%, compared with 45.5% in the same period last year.

U.S. films captured 41.2% of ticket sales, down from 44.9% in the first five months of 2005, per the Centre National de la Cinematographie, France’s film authority.

The usual French B.O. pattern is for Hollywood fare to catch up and overtake French films in the second half of the year.

February and May provided the best B.O. biz in Gaul so far this year, with admissions up 36.7% and 24%, respectively.

Over the 12 months to May 31, admissions rose a more modest 2.1%.

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