Blockbuster comedies stoke record turnout in French cinemas

In 2014, 208.4 million cinema-goers packed out theatre rooms across the country
In 2014, 208.4 million cinema-goers packed out theatre rooms across the country Flickr/ Éole Wind

France’s economy may be in the doldrums, but its cinema industry is bucking the trend. 208 million tickets were sold in 2014, an increase of nearly 8% on the previous year. And French films are now doing better than american films thanks to a handful of strong comedies.


French cinema has reason to celebrate. More than 200 million cinema-goers packed out theatres across the country in 2014, making it the 2nd best year since 1967 when people flocked to see the cult comedy La grande vadrouille starring Bourvil and Louis de Funès.

Once again comedy has got people back into cinema in their droves. Last year 12 million people went to see « Qu’est ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu », or serial bad weddings a comedy about mixed marriages.

Although it was judged too racist to be distributed in the US and Britain showing French humour does not always travel well.

Luc Besson has understood the international market better than most. His film Lucy drew 5 million spectators in France and 52 million abroad– making it the biggest French export for the last 20 years.

Other successes were comedies Superchondriac by Dany Boon and Samba by Nakache and Toledano – the duo behind the very successful Intouchables and starring the funny, charismatic and very popular Omar Sy.

For the first time in recent years, French films were more popular than american films last year, showing that Made in France cinema can work, providing it gets people smiling and forgetting their troubles for a couple of hours.

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