You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hollywood Rules French Box Office in 2015

Majors Post Biggest Market Share in a Decade

PARIS – Propelled by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Minions” and “Jurassic World” – the same B.O. juggernauts that are pushing European box office to record (Germany) or standout (U.K., Spain) 2015 results – Hollywood punched its best results this decade in France, with U.S. movies taking a 54.5% market share for 2015, France’s CNC state film/TV board announced Thursday.

Results comes after four years when, save for 2013, the biggest box office narrative has been the rise of the French blockbuster in France, exemplified by “The Intouchables” and “Bad (Serial) Weddings.” In 2015, it was Hollywood’s and “Star Wars” year, however, though “Minions,” the French could point out, was animated in France and the characters the creation of France’s Pierre Coffin.

Total tix sold in France – 206 million (about $1.5 billion at current dollar conversion rates )– was 1.4% down on 2014, but above the 199.6 million average for the last 10 years. Though below the modern high of 217 million in 2011, it is the fourth best result in ticket sales in modern times after 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Based on admissions, France saw more cinema visits than any other country in Europe, the CNC announced Thursday.

“For the second year in a row, France’s cinema theaters attracted more than 200 million spectators, a strong sign of vitality,” said CNC president Frederique Bredin. “France has Europe’s biggest screen park and is a great nation of film buffs.”

“Star Wars’” stunning U.K. take of $115.9 million may mean that the U.K. shades France as the biggest film market in Europe in terms of gross box office and third biggest in the world in 2015, unless Japan posts a bumper 2015. France ranked No. 3 in the world in 2014 with a total $1.77 billion gross box office, per the European Audiovisual Observatory.

Cruising at $56 million and 6.8 million tix sold in France through Dec. 29, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens’” fourth best result in any world market, Disney’s “The Force” was France’s No. 1 movie of 2015. It also drove France to the second biggest monthly box office result – 24.9 million spectators – since monthly records began in 1980. In two weeks, J.J. Abrams’ barnstormer overhauled “Minions” (6.4 million admissions). Grossing one third of its total B.O, take in 2014, France’s “La Famille Belier” (5.2 million tix sold in 2015) placed third, per Rentrak France, ahead of “Jurassic World” (5.1 million) and Sony’s “Spectre” (4.8 million), per box office site CBO-boxoffice.com.  The last year three U.S. movies punched five million or more admissions in France was in 2007.

In 2014, in an exceptional year for Gallic fare, three French movies topped France’s 2014 charts, led by two huge comedy breakouts: “Serial (Bad) Weddings” and Dany Boon’s “Superchondriac,” then Luc Besson’s “Lucy.”

One year later, 15 French movies punched over one millions admissions (about $7.0 million B.O.) in France. 10 of them were comedies, which is where – for better or worse – the money seems to be increasingly in France.

But the best French performer, Pathe comedy “The New Adventures of Aladdin,” starring the highly bankable 24-year-old French stand-up comic Kev Adams, hit just 4.4 million in tix sales, just over one third of “Bad (Serial) Weddings” B.O. take. French films’ market share, just 1.1 percentage points below the U.S. in 2014, slumped to 35.2% in 2015, having passed 40% five times in the last decade and twice – in 2006 and 2008 – bested American fare in France.

“French production seems to have some kind of a “bi-annual” pattern, like ‘tides.’ French movies usually make big hits every other year,” said Eric Marti, at Rentrak France.

He added: “That was not the case in 2013 and U.S. movies saw a high market share. But it was the case in 2014 (and U.S. production was weaker) and French films’ market share was high. Again in 2015, French production was not as successful in terms of big hits and U.S. films took advantage. If you add to this a very big American title – ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens” – that explains it all without looking for more complex reasons.”

Per Rentrak France, attendance in Paris and its suburbs was 6% down on 2014, affected by January 2015’s Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the further terrorist attacks in November. As Rentrak France observes, high-profile French titles at Cannes performed very well. Best Actor winner (for Vincent Lindon) “The Measure of a Man” sold 963,833 tickets (about $6.8 million by Variety calculations), Studiocanal’s “Mon Roi,” Cannes’ Best Actress laureat (for Emmanuelle Bercot) earned about $5.2 million. Opener “Standing Tall” ran up 708, 422 admissions (about $5 million) for Wild Bunch Distribution. The Palme d’Or winner, “Deephan,” grossed around $4.9 million for UGC Distribution.


Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    AFI Fest Adds 'The Two Popes,' 'Aeronauts,' Alan Pakula Tribute

    The American Film Institute has added “The Two Popes” and “The Aeronauts” as galas during the upcoming AFI Fest along with a tribute to the late director Alan Pakula. AFI had previously announced that the romantic drama “Queen & Slim” would launch the 33rd annual festival on Nov. 14 and close with the world premiere [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Recalls Husband Blake Edwards' Battle With Depression

    The line to see Julie Andrews at the 92Y wrapped around the square of a sprawling New York City block. Seventy years since the start of her career, 60 since she asked “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” as Lerner and Loewe’s first Eliza and 50 since she sang “The Sound of Music” before the Eastern Alps [...]

  • Bloodshot (Vin Diesel) in Columbia Pictures'

    Vin Diesel Comes Back to Life in 'Bloodshot' Trailer

    Vin Diesel is coming back again and again in Sony Pictures’ first trailer for “Bloodshot.” In the forthcoming superhero adventure, Diesel portrays Ray Garrison a.k.a. Bloodshot, a soldier who gets rebuilt by a corporation following his death. The clip, released Monday and scored to Johnny Cash’s rendition of the ballad “Memories are Made of This,” [...]

  • Bouli Lanners Teams With 'Peaky Blinders'

    Bouli Lanners Teams With 'Peaky Blinders' Director Tim Mielants on 'Wise Blood'

    Bouli Lanners, the Belgian actor-director of “The Giants” and “Eldorado,” is teaming with “Peaky Blinders” helmer Tim Mielants to direct “Wise Blood,” an English-language film that will star “Game of Thrones” actor Michelle Fairley and Julian Glover. “Wise Blood” is a Belgian-Scottish-French co-production between Versus Production, Barry Crerar, and Playtime, which will handle international sales [...]

  • Bombshell Charlize Theron Megyn Kelly

    'Bombshell': Why Charlize Theron Was Terrified of Playing Megyn Kelly

    Charlize Theron is getting some of the best buzz of her career for channeling Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell,” but the Oscar-winning actress admits she almost turned down the role. “I was shit scared,” Theron said during a question-and-answer session following a Manhattan screening of “Bombshell” on Sunday. Partly, she was worried about portraying someone who [...]

  • Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's Hazy

    Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner's Hazy Mills to Co-Produce SAG Awards

    Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Hazy Mills Productions have joined the SAG Awards producing team. The guild announced this morning that Kathy Connell will once again serve as the show’s producer along with Hayes and Milliner in partnership with Avalon Harbor. “Attending the SAG Awards has always been a pleasure and a privilege for me,” [...]

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Why 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Fizzled

    Despite nabbing first place at the domestic box office, Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted significantly below expectations and demonstrated that even the most powerful studio in Hollywood is susceptible to missteps. The follow-up to 2014’s “Maleficent” kicked off in North America with a lackluster $36 million bow, an underwhelming result for a film that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content