Printemps sees big admissions boost

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PARIS -- French filmgoers seemed to love Paris in the springtime just a little more this year as the ninth annual Printemps du Cinema enjoyed a 35% jump in ticket sales from 2007, organizers said Wednesday.

The three-day discount cinema festival wrapped Tuesday night with a total of 3.5 million admissions, a record performance. The annual event organized by Gallic national movie theater organization the FNCF allows French cinephiles to purchase movie tickets for just €3.50 ($5.48).

More than 1.7 million filmgoers participated Sunday, 42% more than last year's opening day, while Monday and Tuesday saw jumps in ticket sales of 33% and 35%, respectively.

Organizers are attributing this year's success to the colossal popularity of breakout comedy hit "Welcome to the Land of the Shtis," which already has passed the 12 million admissions mark, thanks in part to the more than 3.6 million tickets sold during the Printemps.

Warner Bros' prehistoric action film "10,000 BC" sold 474, 853 tickets and Olivier Marachal's Daniel Auteuil-starrer "MR 73" sold 448,334 tickets. Stephane Kazandjian's musical romantic comedy "Modern Love," Jean-Paul Salome's World War II drama "Female Agents," Pierre Morel's kidnapping thriller "Taken" and Cedric Klapisch ensemble hit "Paris" also drew crowds.
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