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Are French films more successful than American ones in France?

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Fact-check

Newtral, Spain

16 March 2019, Updated: 18 March 2019

During a press conference, Pablo Echenique, leader of the left-wing Spanish party Podemos, used the French example to show that government support for national culture is crucial to support the cultural industry. “In France, French films have been more successful than American ones for many years”, he stated. But according to official data in France, this claim is false.

Let’s take a look at the statistics from France’s Centre National du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC). Over the last 30 years, French films have had a greater audience share than American ones only twice. It happened in 2006, when French films attracted 44.6% of cinemagoers, compared with the 44.2% that American films managed; and in 2008, when French films obtained 45.5% of attendance while American films garnered 43.4%. Some years before, until the end of 1980s, French films were preferred by the public.

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Newtral asked the press team at Podemos and they confirmed that they too had seen the data from the CNC and that Echenique’s intention was to explain that- in France- there isn’t such a great difference between national and American cinema as there is in other European countries.

Whatever the circumstances, the data from the past 30 years does not show that French ticket admissions have been higher than American ones “for many years”. This claim is false.

Translated by Albie Mills

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