French b.o. enjoys July fireworks


PARIS -- French cinema attendance in July soared to just over 16 million admissions, a 58% jump from the same month in 2006, according to figures released Friday.

The strong performance of kids' fare -- including the latest installments in the "Harry Potter" and "Shrek" franchises and Disney/Pixar's "Ratatouille" -- drove the increase, helped by inclement July weather.

For the first seven months of the year, French ticket sales totaled just over 110 million, down slightly (2.5%) from the same period last year, according to initial estimates from the Center National de la Cinematographie.

The market share for French film thus far this year is estimated at 39%, compared with 44.5% for the first seven months of 2006. The market share for U.S. film is 48%, up from 45% last year.