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Audience for French Films Abroad Grows – Partly Due to Russia

French cinema continues to make a significant impact internationally, as highlighted by Daniela Elstner, CEO of Unifrance, at the Cannes Film Festival. While the recently concluded plays a crucial role in promoting French cinema abroad, with the French film “anatomy of a Fall” winning this year’s Palm d’Or, the success extends beyond the festival. In April, cinema attendance in France had already returned to pre-Covid levels with over 19 million admissions, and this trend is mirrored in foreign markets.

In 2022, French films outside of France experienced a significant boost, with 27 million admissions (a 51.8% increase) and over 167 million euros in box office receipts (a 47.7% increase) compared to 2021. The Cannes Film Festival and Palm d’Or wins are expected to further enhance the reputation of French cinema globally. During the festival, Unifrance’s mission is to generate awareness and interest through engagement with international press and buyers.

French comedies and animated films are particularly successful in international markets, accounting for nearly 40% of total foreign film admissions in 2022. French cinema’s diversity and quality are crucial factors contributing to its success abroad. Unifrance’s general manager highlights that French films have become a recognizable brand internationally, with over 150 films consistently reaching audiences worldwide. Western Europe remains a preferred destination for French films, with numerous territories exhibiting strong performance.

The rise of streaming platforms has also created new opportunities for French cinema abroad. While some films bypass traditional theatrical releases by being produced and distributed exclusively on platforms, Unifrance remains optimistic about the future of theatrical releases. The global popularity of French actor Omar Sy, who stars in Netflix’s “Lupin” and continues to make films like “Tirailleurs,” showcases the promotional value of streaming platforms. Streaming platforms, on their own scale, contribute to the international influence of French cinema, Ms Elstner believes.

Geopolitical factors also play a role in film distribution outside of France. Despite ongoing conflicts, Ukraine remains a significant market for French films, as local operators strive to maintain a rich cultural offering. Surprisingly, Russia ranks third in terms of admissions in 2022, behind Germany and Poland. Many films were sold to Russia before the conflicts began, leading to continued releases, despite calls for France to halt releases of new films to Russia while the country is at war with Ukraine.

Source : BFM TV