France Crowns Warners in 2013

Warner Bros. tops French distributors charts for third time in four years

PARIS – Scoring a double whammy in the two biggest film markets in Europe, Warner Bros. proved the No. 1 distributor in France in 2013.

WB announced Thursday it had also topped 2013 distributor charts in the U.K., there, as in France, for the third time in four years.

Grossing 20.6 million admissions – roughly $180 million – in Gaul for an 11.3% market share, WB edged out Disney (a 10.2% share), followed by Fox (8.4%), Sony (7.2%), Universal (7.0%), Metropolitan FilmExport (5.8%), Gaumont Distribution (5.3%), Studiocanal (4.9%), Pathe Dostribution (4.8%) and Mars Distribution (4.6%), per Rentrak figures.

Remarkably, no Warner Bros. title figures in France’s top three B.O. hits, where “Despicable Me 2” was the highest-grossing film of 2013, with 4.6 million tix sold, according to France’s CBO Box Office.

In France, like the U.K., Warners’ box office was driven by a significant spread of movies rather than one single blockbuster.

No. 4 at France’s box office, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” was Warner Bros.’ biggest movie in France last year – unlike in the U.K., where “Smaug” proved its most popular title  – selling 4.0 million tix.

In Gaul, “The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug” ended the year with 3.8 million admissions, and still plenty of fuel in its B.O. tank, which puts it on track to become the biggest release of 2013. “Man of Steel” racked in 2.3 million spectators, “The Hangover Part 3” 2.0 million.

“Of the top 10 distributors in France last year, comparing the highest-grossing film at each company, only Fox’s ‘Turbo’ counted for a smaller percentage of a distributor’s total 2013 box office than ‘Gravity,’ commented Arturo Guillen, VP, Rentrak, EMEA.

“That implies strength in depth which in Warner Bros.’ case was across a broad range of distinctive titles,” he added.

“As always, success in theatrical distribution is an addition of several factors: the quality of the films of course, but also the way we work towards local audiences and the innovative approach of our marketing and distribution operations. In the past four years, we have claimed the top spot three times and the fourth was a close race,” said Olivier Snanoudj, Warner Bros. V.P., distribution, France.

In May 2013, in one innovation, Warner Bros. inaugurated a highly successful Comic-Con-style My Warner Day in Paris, the only cross-media event organized by a studio in the French capital. It attracted 2,700 WB title fans, galvanizing market mo’ on its heavyweight movies – ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘Pacific Rim,’ ‘Hangover 3,’ ‘Hobbit 2,’ – plus vidgames – ‘Batman: Arkham Origins’  – and TV releases, led by HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones.’

Snanoudj added: “In 2013, WB’s line up was once again consistent with very demanding French audience expectations: a mix of quality franchises and what we like to call ‘auteur blockbusters’ such as ‘Gravity.’ ‘The Conjuring’ was also one of our highlights as it became the best grossing horror film in France in 15 years.”

The Conjuring” sold 1.2 million tix in France.

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