France Box Office 2015: Hollywood Tentpoles Reclaim Dominance

Courtesy of Roger Do Minh
France's most-popular local film of the year is 'The New Adventures of Aladdin.'

After a locally produced top three in 2014, France's most-visited films of the year included three blockbusters from Universal.

After an extraordinary 2014 in France, in which the top three films at the box office were all locally produced, Hollywood tentpoles reclaimed their dominance in 2015, with the animated prequel Minions grabbing the top spot.

Worldwide juggernauts Jurassic World and Furious 7, like Minions from Universal, completed this year’s top three as of Monday night. The trio's combined French box office is over $115 million. 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will affect the final rankings for 2015 after its release last week. With an estimated 2.7 million admissions after its first five days, according to Monday data, it is likely to find itself somewhere near or at the top of the charts by the end of the year.

The highest-ranked local title, the comedy The New Adventures of Aladdin, comes in at number six as of Friday. The film stars 24-year-old phenomenon Kev Adams, who also headlines the only other French title in the top 10, the sequel Serial Teachers 2, which came in at number nine.

The homegrown, charts-topping 2014 hat trick of lowbrow comedies Serial (Bad) Weddings and Superchondriac and French (but English-language) actioner Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, was unusual. Together, last year’s trio of hits represented a staggering 22.6 million admissions. France counts box-office figures in tickets sold, with the top film, a farce about race and marriage, responsible for over 12 million tickets alone.

That’s an unusually high number in the cinema-loving country, where films are considered mainstream hits if they sell over 1 million tickets, but even blockbusters rarely attract more than 5 million moviegoers. The cinephile nation’s busy release schedule, with 12 to 25 new releases each week, is at least partially responsible for that.

This year’s top three titles sold a combined 16 million tickets, which is better than the more comparable 2013, when the U.S.-produced top three — Frozen, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Despicable Me 2 — sold a combined 14.5 million stubs.

The 2015 top five is rounded out by Pixar’s Inside Out, which is still playing after 26 weeks in theaters, and James Bond title Spectre, which was released last month and will likely move up in the rankings.

Also in the top 10 were superhero ensemble sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, popular book adaptation Fifty Shades of Grey and Clint Eastwood’s audience and critical hit American Sniper, which was released in France in February. 

It is also worth noting that the Maze Runner franchise continues to dominate YA-oriented fare in France, with the second film reaching the 11th spot with over 3.1 million admissions as of Friday. The sequel attracted substantially more moviegoers than either the latest Divergent installment or the last Hunger Games film, both good for about 2.4 million admissions each. 

This year’s figures again demonstrate how much the French love animated fare, not only with the success of Minions and Inside Out but also local, CGI-animated films Evolution Man and Le Petit Prince, which topped 2.4 million and 1.8 million admissions, respectively, good for 18th and 21st place.

Here are the top 12 box-office performers in France for 2015 (in number of admissions as of Dec. 15):

(*) denotes a local title


1) Minions - 6,401,791

2) Jurassic World - 5,123,699

3) Furious 7 - 4,556,574

4) Inside Out (still playing) - 4,458,131

5) Spectre (still playing) - 4,392,532

6) The New Adventures of Aladdin (still playing) (*) - 4,380,436

7) Avengers: Age of Ultron - 4,326,331

8) Fifty Shades of Grey - 4,043,310

9) Serial Teachers 2 (*) - 3,489,537

10) American Sniper - 3,128,602

11) The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (still playing) - 3,119,737

12) Daddy or Mommy (*) - 2,886,272