More Gauls say oui to U.S. pix in 2000

Multiplexes help bring receipts up 8.5%

PARIS — Audiences and revenue were up for Gallic cinema last year, but more folks flocked to U.S. pics, according to statistics.

There were almost 166 million entries, up 8.1%, according to the Centre National de Cinematographie’s annual report released Wednesday. Receipts rose 8.5% to 5.86 billion francs ($789 million) on 1999’s $727 million.

The CNC found that development of multiplexes and modernization of theaters were the main reasons for the rise. Unlimited entry cinema passes contributed 2.7% of entries.

The other winner was American cinema, which took 62.9% of French market share, up 9% on the previous year. Major American successes in Gaul included “The Sixth Sense,” “Gladiator” and “Toy Story 2.”

French films took 28.5% market share in 2000, compared with 32.4% the previous year, despite a few major hits including “Taxi 2,” “The Taste of Others” and “Crimson Rivers.”

The number of French pics made dropped by 10 to 171, but film investments were up from $612 million to $710 million. The average bill for French-initiated films was $4.2 million. Distribution continued to grow, with the record figure of 544 movies projected in 2000, up 19.