French auds reach 'Titanic' numbers : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

French auds reach 'Titanic' numbers
'Temps' also adds to B.O. upswing

By MICHAEL WILLIAMS, April 22, 1998

PARIS  Spurred on by Titanic and local comedy Les Couloirs du Temps, French box office surged by 40% in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period in 1997.

According to the latest figures from the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF), an alliance of Frances main exhibitors, admissions for the first quarter hit 50 million. In 1997, it took another month before that level of attendance was achieved, although strong releases in the early part of 1997 were particularly sparse.

Much of the success is due to James Camerons Titanic, which sold a massive 16.5 million tickets between its Jan. 7 launch and March 31.

Flying the French flag was Les Couloirs du Temps, the followup to comedy hit Les Visiteurs. Les Couloirs du Temps amassed an audience of 7.7 million in just five weeks, in the process, outperforming last years big French pic The Fifth Element.

Per the FNCF, the recent growth of multiplexes outside Paris and in the Paris suburbs has meant that the biggest increases in audiences have not been in the French capital, where traditionally film careers were made or destroyed.

With Titanic already grossing over $100 million in France, its not just Fox rubbing its hands together at the boat movies mighty performance. Exhibs around the country are reporting that, as Titanic became a cultural phenomenon, people who hadnt been to the cinema in years went to theaters to see the pic.

The result, according to exhibs, is that these audiences found new plexes and comfortable conditions and have begun to make the cinema a regular part of their leisure activities again.

The question now being asked is whether the upward trend in attendance can be maintained and whether admissions will rise once again, this time past the 150 million mark for the year.


-- Dan Draghici (, April 22, 1998



-- Thomas M. Terashima (, May 13, 1998.

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