French film productions rise vastly

A record 261 movies hit the bigscreen in 2010

PARIS — Bulwarked by its large domestic film market and TV coin, French film production levels and investments bounced back in 2010, according to a report from France’s Centre National du Cinema film board.

While 2009 was marked by a fall in investment, which the CNC attributed to the recession, French productions skyrocketed by 13.5% to a record 261 last year.

Total investment in French films climbed 31% to €1.44 billion ($1.91 billion), just under 2008’s record levels.

Other banner statistics: a $221.3 million increase in French investment in French movies or majority-French international co-productions, up to $1.5 billion, plus a $165.3 million hike in foreign investment in majority foreign co-production films.

The CNC has yet to detail the sources of incremental French investment.

“What can be said is that in the last 12 months, movie attendance has grown, so producers have earned more money, the DVD market has grown a little, thanks to Blu-ray, and TV channels have not performed as badly as was feared because of the crisis,” said Patrick Lamassoure at Film France.

“For everyone involved in financing French films, there’s a climate of trust right now,” he added.

Meanwhile, the number of Gallic international co-productions climbed 28% to 118, a last decade highpoint. French producers worked a two-way street with some looking abroad for finance, while those with cash boarded foreign productions.

French investment in foreign films — $94.40 million — grew more (by $41.52 million) than foreign investment in French films, Lamassoure pointed out.

The number of French pics with budgets over $20 million edged up from 11 in 2009 to 12, repping 25.6% of total investment, a sign that, even in France, producers are now controlling their production ambitions.

Investment in French films went up nearly 20% to $1.48 billion. That climb was fuelled by an increase of films in, for Gaul, the mid-range budget bracket of $5.3 million to $9.3 million, up from 27 in 2009 to 46 in 2010.