French Box Office Drops 5.3% as Hollywood Pics Dominate

U.S. fare takes a huge 54% market share as Gallic movies settle for 33%

Les Profs

Representing the world’s fifth-largest theatrical market, total French box office fell 5.3% to €1.2 million ($1.6 billion) off 192.79 million tickets sold in 2013, according to a report unveiled by the CNC (National Film Board) on Friday.

Powered by Universal’s “Despicable Me 2” (pictured above), Disney’s “Iron Man 3,” Sony’s “Django Unchained” and Warner Bros.’ “Gravity,” Hollywood fare heavily dominated the Gallic box office with a 54% market share — a big leap from last year’s 42.7%  — luring 103.8 million moviegoers, and punching some $150 million more in gross box office vs. 2012. U.S. market share was the biggest in a decade.

While Gaul still enjoys a healthy local film industry, the share of French pics nosedived to 33.3% (from 40.3% in 2012) due to the lack of a homegrown comedy blockbuster scoring north of $40 million. Given the importance of local fare for cinema theater attendance in France, even a far better year for Hollywood in France wasn’t enough to take up that slack.

Last year’s highest-grossing Gallic movie, “Les profs,” a comedy based on a graphic novel, nabbed $32.4 million, ranking No. 5 on B.O. charts.

For the first time in a decade, not a single film – neither American nor French – broke the 5 million ticket barrier. In 2012, there were three: “Skyfall” ($60.1 million), “Ice Age: Continental Drift” ($55.5 million) and Gallic comedy “Houba! On the Trail of the Marsupilami” ($44.5 million).

Underscoring the diversity of the American films on offer and French auds’ enthusiasm for the best of studio fare as well as big auteur-driven indies, led by Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” which sold 4.2 million tickets, 15 U.S. pics racked up more than two million tickets and 35 films attracted more than one million moviegoers.

Meanwhile, other cinema movies from neither the U.S. or France did not prove as popular as in 2012, accounting for 12.8% of ticket sales, compared with 2012’s 17.0%.