French Fete matches last year's


PARIS -- French cinephiles, 2.8 million of them, headed to the movies during this year's 23rd annual Fete du Cinema, a national moviegoing incentive that offers reduced ticket prices over a three-day period.

Despite a drop in attendance for the first two days of the event when compared with 2006 -- a 4% decrease Sunday and a 9% dip Monday -- Tuesday saw a 13% jump in ticket sales, making the total admissions numbers for the event exactly the same as last year.

Parisians, however, were less enthusiastic about the national cinema celebration, with the number of filmgoers in Paris and its surrounding suburbs dropping 12% compared with last year, even without competition from the World Cup matches.

Hollywood productions dominate in Gaul, with few French films on offer. "Shrek the Third," "Ocean's Thirteen" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" were the top moneymakers over the 3-day period, with "Spider-Man 3" and "Zodiac" also seeing strong numbers.

French offering "Dialogue with My Gardener," starring Daniel Auteil, and horror flick "The Hills Have Eyes 2" also attracted significant audiences.

The Fete du Cinema is organized by Gallic movie theater foundation the FNCF in partnership with the BNP Paribas bank chain. Filmgoers who purchased a full-price ticket were able to pay just €2 ($2.69) for subsequent screenings June 24-26 in the 5,300 participating theaters nationwide.