France Sets Box Office Record for Tickets Sold in 2011

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All told, nearly 216 million tickets were purchased, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to 2010.

2011 was a record-breaking year for the French box office with 215.59 million tickets sold in 2011, 4.2 percent more than in 2010 according to national film organization the CNC.

The figures are the best in the territory in 45 years after 234.17 million tickets were sold in 1966.

Last year's second semester was particularly profitable for the French film biz with a 14.8 percent jump in ticket sales despite a 6.2 percent drop in admissions during the first half of the year.

The year ended on a positive note with 24.7 million tickets sold in December, a 28.6 percent increase compared to December 2010. 2011 was an especially positive year for homemade fare.

French films saw a 21.4 percent jump in ticket sales to 89.62 million, the most tickets sold since 1984. French films boasted a 41.6 percent market share for the year compared to 35.7 percent in 2010. The top two titles of the year were French and 20 Gallic titles sold more than 1 million tickets. 

American films, however, dropped slightly from a 47.6 percent share in 2010 to a 46 percent share in 2011, but sold 0.8 percent more tickets last year for a total of 99.16 million admissions. Non-French and non-American titles represented 12.4 percent of the market, down from 16.7 percent in 2010.

Digital cinema made strides in France in 2011. By the end of the year, more than 3,600 screens were equipped with digital screens, 66.7 percent of French screens compared to only one third the year before.

More than 1,000 theaters have at least one digital screen, or 48.5 percent of cinemas. 3D also became more ubiquitous in 2011. Forty-three films were released in the format compared to just 23 films in 2010 and 16 in 2009.