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Half-term attendance peaks


- April is a rewarding month for cinema with 13 titles out yesterday and 54 during the month. 4 French films begin their battle against Hollywood with a distinct advantage

Half-term attendance peaks

French cinemas have once again reached over-saturation with 13 new films scheduled out today and 54 titles during April. Last seen in October, this phenomenon is a source of great anxiety to film industry operators and has distributors desperately outsourcing available screens while producers pace corridors nervously waiting for box office results to come in from today’s first screenings so they can estimate whether their films will last longer than the all-important first fortnight. There are simply too many prints in circulation every week in France: between 6200 and 8000 for a total of 5200 screens nationwide. The tendency to concentrate a huge number of releases to coincide with the school holidays continues relentlessly but fails to convince hungry distributors of the potential damage this can cause films. Four local titles that will fight it out amongst themselves as of today are Bienvenue chez les Rozes by Francis Palluau and starring Carole Bouquet (on 250 screens by courtesy of TFM), Laisse tes mains sur mes anches by Chantal Lauby (300 prints by Arp Sélection), Le Coeur des hommes by Marc Esposito (350 prints by Bac Distribution) and Snowboarder by Olias Barco (300 prints by Mars Distribution). With those kind of numbers, disappointments can be expected even if these four titles alone will engage more French screens than their any American film out contemporaneously (1200 against 700).

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March 2003 saw a total of 44 new films released in France and, as a result of the programming method currently in vogue whereby distributors release a huge number of prints in order to get the best box office results during the first fortnight, the titles are alternating at a dizzying speed. The need for the industry to sit down and try to formulate a valid solution for this untenable situation could not be more timely.

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(Translated from French)

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