French Box Office Posts Strong 2023 With Cinema Admissions Up 19%  – Deadline

French exhibitors can start 2024 with renewed confidence as new figures released by the National Cinema Center (CNC) show that audiences are heading back to the big screen.

The CNC has recorded 181 million theater admissions for 2023, an 18.9 percent jump compared with 2022. However, the national film body states that the figure remains around 13.1% behind the average admissions in the pre-COVID years between 2017 and 2019. 2023 was the first year post-COVID with no health restrictions on cinemas in France.

U.S. films topped the French admissions charts in 2023, with Universal’s The Super Mario Brothers leading the way with 7.15 million admissions, followed by WBD’s cultural hit Barbie with 5.80 million and Disney’s Avatar: The Way of Water with 5.18 million. The only local title to sneak into the top five was Guillaume Canet’s Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom, the latest in the comedy franchise. The film clocked 4.48 million in admissions. Christopher Nolan’s atomic biopic Oppenheimer closed out the top five with 4.39 million. 

The market share for French films in 2023 was 39.8%, the CNC reported. That percentage equates to around 71.9 in admissions. The figure in 2022 was 41.1%, and 37.2% was the average between 2017 and 2019.

“Attendance in French cinemas in 2023 confirms the powerful dynamic initiated last year. France has achieved the best recovery among comparable countries thanks to the diversity of works offered, particularly French, and the commitment of our cinemas,” said Dominique Boutonnat, president of the CNC.

“Successes like Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom, 2, the two parts of The Three Musketeers, or, of course, Anatomy of a Fall, or All Your Faces, The Animal Kingdom, but also other successes like Barbie, Oppenheimer, Killers of the Flower Moon and The Boy and the Heron, illustrate the extent to which the French public is curious and eclectic.”

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