Icons ask for action

Gallic landmarks sees benefits in soliciting shoots

Once producers scoured for locations. Now key sites scour for producers.

Versailles and the Louvre send execs to Santa Monica’s AFCI Locations Trade Show every year. One of their major responsibilities is seeking film shoots.

That said, shoots are not huge moneyspinners in those monumental locations. The Louvre hosts around five movie shoots — mostly scenes, not full films — a year. These bring in around a total of $272,000 in fees, says deputy general manager Catherine Sueur.

Louvre ticket sales climbed 12% to 5.6 million in 2005, but 20% in 2006 and 27% in 2007 to 8.5 million, after “The Da Vinci Code” bowed in May 2006.

At Versailles, “Marie Antoinette” accounted for 10%-20% of increased attendance, says Denis Berthomier, exec director, Chateau de Versailles.

Also, movies may help the Louvre and Versailles broaden attendance beyond the highbrow crowd.

Berthomier says he’d like to modernize Versailles’ image. “A James Bond film would be absolutely marvelous.” Though he adds: “Of course, if I’m asked to set Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors on fire, I’d have to decline.”

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