Attendance boost in french cinemas

aCinema attendance in France is now tracking 2.6% up on 2008, according to France’s CNC film board. The stellar result is being driven, in part, by the 3-D digital revolution.

French theaters recorded 117.9 admissions, which equates to a B.O. of around Euros 707.5 million ($1 billion), for the period January through July.

The fact that this year’s B.O. has surpassed last year’s result is all the more remarkable given that early 2008 saw the bow of the highest-grossing Gallic movie of all time, theDany Boon-directed comedy “Welcome to the Sticks,” which grossed $193 million in France.

With a total 20.7 million tickets sold, July’s B.O. was a massive 56.1% up on July 2008.

The uptick is largely thanks to bumper bows from Fox’s digital 3-D heavyweight “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” which grossed $55 million in July, and WB’s “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” which took just under $40 million for the month.

Late July also caught the first three days of another digital 3-D tentpole, Disney-Pixar’s“Up,” which made a sterling first-five day $8.9 million.

“Distributors used to release titles of no interest in July,” said Manuel Chiche, chief operating officer of French indie distributor Wild Side Films. But now July is increasingly appreciated as a strong release date.

Also, Chiche added, “Very good results can be obtained for specialty titles. Audiences are increasingly curious and open-minded at this time of the year.” 

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