Record-breaking summer for French boxoffice

'Up,' 'Ice Age' sequel contribute to brisk ticket sales

PARIS -- While the summer months have traditionally been calm for the French film world, the Gallic boxoffice is heating up this year, with a record 20.7 million tickets sold in July, the most since 1980, according to figures from state film body the CNC.

Ticket sales jumped 51.6% compared with July 2008 thanks to popular animated hits "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and Disney/Pixar's 3D "Up," plus Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince."

A total of 117.9 million tickets were sold in the territory from January through July, a 2.6% rise compared with 2008. This increase is even more impressive considering that last year's boxoffice featured the country's record-breaking boxoffice sensation "Welcome to the Sticks," which hit theaters in the early part of 2008.

French films, however, have seen their market share drop from 50.1% to 35.2% over the first seven months of the year between 2008 and 2009, due in part to the lack of a national blockbuster a la "Sticks." American titles have reaffirmed their dominance over the market, with a 48% share for the first half of the year, compared with 42.3% a year ago.