French Fete tally up 33%

PARIS — The 13th annual Fete du Cinema (June 29-July 1) closed Tuesday with 4 million tickets sold, up 33% from last year’s event.

Over the three-day period, a ducat for any film in almost every hardtop nationwide cost 10 francs ($1.70) after purchase of one full-price ticket.

UIP’s “Liar Liar” drew the biggest crowds with more than 400,000 entries over the three days, followed by several months-old French films, including GBVI’s “The Fifth Element” and AFMD’s “La Verite Si Je Mens.” Other films that have endured even longer runs gained new life, including “The English Patient,” “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet” and France’s “Les Randonneurs.”

Olivier Snanoudj, deputy director of the Federation National du Cinema Francais, which sponsored the event, attributed the fete’s success to the winter-like weather as well as the large slate of films available. “Distributors finally realized this year that they had better be present during this week,” Snanoudj said.

Despite the increases, Snanoudj told Daily Variety he was disappointed by the performances of arthouse films in Paris, where ticket sales were not as strong compared with the provinces.

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