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French box office down in first half

Market share for U.S. fare was 45.8%

The Gallic box office fell 9.6% to e553 million ($753.3 million) in the first half of the year, with U.S. films taking $348 million, $11 million less than in same period last year.

Market share for U.S. fare, however, was 45.8%, while French pics trailed with 44.3%, according to figures published Monday by Gallic film body the Centre National de la Cinematographie. Last year, the market share for French films was 44.7%, half a percentage point ahead of that for U.S. fare.

American pics had been trailing behind local fare for most of the first half until box office juggernauts “Spider-Man 3” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” hit screens in May.

Spidey grossed $51 million, and “At World’s End” made $43 million, outperforming Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en rose,” until then France’s box office topper with $41.3 million.

First half was marked by sharp swings in box office admissions, with January and March up significantly while February, April and May were down. April was the worst month, with admissions down 44% on the same month last year. June was brighter, with the box office up 12.6% to $108 million

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