CNC says French films suffered in 2009

Gallic stars saw a 19% drop in their paychecks

PARIS -- French films and the talent who star in them suffered in 2009 as the global financial crisis caused a 26.3% dip in investment in the country's film industry to €1.1 billion, compared to €1.5 billion the year before, according to figures released Wednesday from state film body the CNC.

The French film industry was less prolific in 2009 with 230 movies made, compared to 240 in 2008. French majority productions totaled 182, down from 196 in 2008.

Gallic stars also saw a 19% drop in their paychecks. France's actors and actresses made just 59.3% of the total wages delegated for talent, compared to 67% the year before. Total talent earnings accounted for an average 6.8% of the cost of a film, down from 8% in 2008.

As France's TV networks struggled to remain afloat during the wave of economic downturn, their investments in film dwindled. Leading private network TF1's investment in French majority productions dropped 29.8%. In 2009, public TV group France Televisions decreased their spending by 25.8%, M6 by 19.8% and pay TV powerhouse Canal Plus a slight 5.3%. Franco-German private channel Arte, however, upped its investments by 83.6% compared to 2008.

Less big-budget films were made in 2009 than during the previous atypical blockbuster-making year' that saw three films made for more than €40 million, which caused the average price of a film to jump to €6.42 million.

In 2009, however, for the first time since 2002, no French majority productions were made for a budget of more than €40 million. The film industry's collective efforts to invest more in mid-budget titles was successful, with 16.2% of the total funds invested in films reserved for movies with budgets between €4 and €7 million, up from 11.4% in 2008.

The average cost of a film in 2009 was a significantly lower €5.1 million. Among the biggest budget titles in 2009 were Luc Besson's "The Aventures of Adele Blanc Sec" with a €31.34 million budget, Roman Polanski's thriller "The Ghost Writer" which was made for €29.62 million and Fabien Onteniente's comedy "Camping 2" with a budget of €23.07 million.