French flock to movies

Admissions up 58% in July

PARIS — Movie admissions in France were up 58% in July on the same month last year, but the 2007 total still trails the same period in 2006 by 2.5%.

Gallic theaters chalked up 16.05 million admissions in July, according to the Centre de la Cinematographie. The running total for the first seven months in 2007 is 110 million, compared with 113 million in 2006.

Aided by a succession of blockbusters and poor weather, admissions lifted off in June and the good run is continuing into August. U.S. pics have a market share of 47.9% so far in 2007, up 2.8% on January to July 2006.

Top pics in July included “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Shrek the Third,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Transformers” and “The Simpsons Movie.”

Brit pics also experienced a boost, led by “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” (5.5 million admissions in five weeks) and comedy “Hot Fuzz,” which had an audience of nearly 165,000 over four week in July and August.

The market share for French films is down on the same period last year from 44.5% to 39%.

The most popular French releases of the summer have been the animated “Persepolis” (more than 967,000 viewers in seven weeks), the Julie Delpy comedy “Two Days in Paris” (192,000 in five weeks) and helmer Jean Becker’s “Conversation with My Gardener” (over 1.2 million viewers in 10 weeks).

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