While the volume of production in France remained high with 300 films made in 2018, investment in local films dropped by 15.2% to €1.12 billion ($1.26 billion), hit by the sharp decline in financing from traditional distribution deals and TV channels.
Among the 300 films produced last year, 237 were French-majority films and 63 French-minority movies. Although the volume of film production has kept growing over the last 10 years, budgets have been shrinking by about 2.6% per year, and were down by 17.7% to €4 million last year.
Only 33 films were budgeted at or above 7 million euros in 2018, compared with 49 films in 2017. Meanwhile, there were 69 micro-budgeted films made in France last year, nearly 30% more than in 2017.
Local investment in French movies reached a 10-year record low of €890.52 million; and foreign investment in French films was also down to €198 million (compared with €240 million in 2017). It’s the second lowest foreign investment level within the last decade.
Traditional distribution deals — for theatrical, home entertainment and international sales — fell 30.3% to €144.40 million across 238 films in 2018. Taking into account only the films which were not fully backed by a vertically-integrated company, 173 movies received €51.28 million in minimum guarantees from international sales companies, but 43% of that amount was given to 11 films. When it comes to distribution, the concentration of investment is also high. Out of 110 productions, six movies pulled 34.5% of the €20.86 million in minimum guarantees from French distributors.
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Aside from distribution and international sales deals, local TV channels, which have to invest a percentage of their annual revenues in French and European films, also injected less money in French movies in 2018. Overall, TV channels ploughed €281.70 million in 175 films, a 22.5% drop on 2017.
Pay TV channels invested €160.46 million in 164 movies, a 24% drop; while free-to-air channels invested €121.24 million in 116 films, a 20% year-on decline. As anticipated, the investment from Canal Plus fell to a decade-low of €114 million — a 25.5% year-on decline. Canal Plus nevertheless accounted for 70% of all pay-TV investment.