×

France’s 2017 Box Office Scores Third-Largest Haul in 50 Years

France confirmed its status as Europe’s biggest nation of moviegoers in 2017 with 209.2 million admissions, its third-largest number in the last 50 years, according to the country’s National Film Board (CNC).

In dollar terms, France’s 2017 box office also scored its third-biggest haul in history, with an estimated gross of $1.64 billion (€1.36 billion). That is 2% down from 2016’s total.

While admissions for American films fell by 8.6% (102 million admissions) in 2017, Hollywood hits such as “Despicable Me 3” (pictured), “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Baby Boss” dominated the French charts.

Three homegrown movies showed up in the top 10 highest-grossing films: Luc Besson’s science-fiction pic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” plus a pair of French-language comedies, Dany Boon’s “Raid Dingue” and Philippe Lacheau’s “Alibi.com,” the only two French-language films which grossed more than $25 million in 2017.

Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s dramedy “C’est La Vie” took the 12th slot with an estimated $23.7 million.

There were no real French blockbusters in 2017, but local movies managed to sell 78.19 million tickets, slightly more than last year, and took a 37.4% market share, up 2.6% on last year. The CNC ascribed the upward trend to the breadth and diversity of the French films offer.

Besides “Raid Dingue,” “Alibi.com” and “C’est La Vie,” a flurry of French-language films proved to be sleeper hits, notably Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir’s dramedy “Patients,” Albert Dupontel’s historical film “Au Revoir Là-Haut,” and the animated features “Sahara,” “Les As de la Jungle” and “Le Grand Méchant Renard et Autres Contes.”

On top of these, a handful of critically acclaimed films that played at Cannes also fared particularly well in French theaters. These include Robin Campillo’s Grand Jury prize-winning “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” Agnes Varda and JR’s “Visages, Villages,” Mathieu Amalric’s Un Certain Regard winner “Barbara,” and Hubert Charuel’s “Petit Paysan,” which played in Critics’ Week.

Reacting to the box office report, the National Federation of French Cinemas noted that admissions were spread across a larger number of films. The federation said movie-going was also strong in France because of its 5,847 screens – Europe’s biggest market for theaters – which have increased by 10% in the last decade, along with the number of screenings, which were up 27%.

Another factor driving France’s high theatrical attendance is the record number of movies getting released. As many as 700 films came out in theaters in 2017.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Cat in the Wall Movie Sarajevo

    Sarajevo Film Festival Builds Bridges Through Art

    Rising from the rubble of the Bosnian War to become one of Southeastern Europe’s leading film and TV industry events, the Sarajevo Film Festival has plenty to celebrate as it marks its 25th edition this year. The festival was established in 1995 during the four-year siege of Sarajevo as part of an effort to help [...]

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • Patricia Louisiana Knop Dead: Screenwriter Was

    Screenwriter Patricia Louisianna Knop Dies at 78

    Screenwriter Patricia Louisianna Knop, who collaborated with her producer-director husband Zalman King on erotically-charged films of the late 1980s and 1990s including “Siesta” and “9 1/2 Weeks,” died Aug. 7 in Santa Monica after a lengthy illness. “9 1/2 Weeks,” starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, was directed by Adrian Lyne, co-produced by King and [...]

  • (L-R) NELL WILLIAMS as Eliza, VIVEIK

    How 'Blinded by the Light' Brought Bruce Springsteen's Music to the Screen for a Song

    Blinded by the Light co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. Born in Kenya when the country was a British colony, she grew up part of the Indian/Asian diaspora who made their way from East Africa to London. For that reason, the 59-year-old’s movies has always dealt with the [...]

  • Studio Movie Grill Announces New Theater

    Studio Movie Grill Announces New Los Angeles-Area Dine-In Theater (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Studio Movie Grill circuit will open a new dine-in theater in the Glendale, Calif. Arts District, CEO Brian Schultz announced Friday. The new theater complex will be 60,000 square feet with 10 screens and will take the place of the former location of the MGN 5-Star Cinema, located near the Glendale Galleria, in the [...]

  • Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet in

    Fall Movie Preview 2019: From 'It: Chapter 2' to 'Little Women'

    Summer may be ending, but that doesn’t mean there will be a dearth of content at the multiplexes. On the contrary, studios are filling up theaters with Oscar-season content, popcorn fare and family films through the end of the year. From Greta Gerwig’s star-studded “Little Women” adaptation to the highly anticipated sequel to “It,” Variety [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content