Lack of local blockbuster drags down figures

Total cinema theater tix sold in France plummeted a whopping year-on-year 15.2% January-March, according to CNC stats.

But the cause isn’t the recession, but Dany Boon’s B.O. champ of champs “Welcome to the Sticks,” which bowed Feb. 25 2008. “Sticks” took the lion’s share of its final 20.5 million admission trawl in March last year, going on to become the most-watched French movie in Gaul ever.

The second most popular film in France last year, “Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games,” directed by Frederic Forestier and Thomas Langmann, bowed late January 2008, punching a total 6.8 million admissions.

With French B.O. so heavily frontloaded last year, first quarter ’09 Gallic B.O. this year was never likely to get anywhere near 2008.

Best perfing pics in France through April 14 were breakout Pathe production “LOL (Laughing Out Loud,” 3.6 million admissions), WB’s “Gran Torino” (3.1 million), a second French production, StudioCanal’s “Coco” (2.85 million), Disney’s “Bolt” (2.85 million) and “Twilight” (2.8 million), distribbed by SND.

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