French film exports jump in '06

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PARIS -- French films are increasingly popular overseas, with Gallic titles boasting an 11.2% jump in 2006 sales and presales, to €170.4 million ($246 million), according to a study conducted by state film organization the CNC.

Recent films -- those produced after Jan. 1, 2003 -- were the most popular exports, representing 85.8% of films sold in 2006, compared with 80.2% in 2005.

Germany is the top market for French films in Western Europe, followed by Spain and Belgium. Those three countries alone represent 58.3% of total sales of Gallic titles worldwide for the year.

Sales to North America rose 62.6% to €28.8 million ($41.6 million). The continent represents 27.5% of total world sales.

"Despite tough competition and an important selectivity among distributors, the potential for profits from French films has the chance to rise in North America, in particular for the most promising films," the CNC said in a statement.

Sales to Eastern Europe rose 46.3% to €17.9 million ($25.8 million) in 2006, trumping Asia to become the third-largest importer of French films for the year. The region represents 10.5% of total sales, compared with 8% in 2005.

French movies, however, were dramatically less popular in Asia this year, with a 29.4% dip in sales to €16 million ($23.1 million).

The CNC attributes the drop to a €7.4 million ($10.7 million) decrease in Japanese sales due to a resurgence of the local industry there.

Asian markets represented just 9.4% of total sales of French films in 2006, compared with 14.8% in 2005.
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