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27/08/2007

UK Cinema-Goers Go 'Ooh La La' For French Film

UK cinema-goers are becoming more continental in their cinema tastes according to the latest UK box office statistics released by the UK Film Council.
The French films 'Tell No One' directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Kristin Scott Thomas, and Olivier Dahan's 'La Vie en Rose' starring Marion Cotillard, have both joined the ranks of international films topping £1 million at the UK box office. The success achieved by the two films takes them into the all-time top 10 French films at the UK box office, along with 'Amelie', 'Cyrano de Bergerac', 'A Very Long Engagement' and 'Cache' (Hidden).
Since the UK Film Council introduced Lottery funding to support the distribution of foreign language and specialised films in 2003 so that they can reach British cinema-goers, 26 foreign language films have grossed more than £1 million at the UK box office. The release patterns of these films show that they are averaging 113 screens at their widest point of release although some have played as many as 385 screens. Of these 26 foreign language films, the UK Film Council has supported 15 in gaining a wider UK release.
In comparison, only seven films grossed £1 million or more in the previous three years (2000-2003) and the average number of screens they played at the widest point of their release was 24. Throughout the 1990s, only nine films grossed more than £1 million at the UK box office.
Foreign language films receive distribution support from the UK Film Council as part of its role to encourage film culture in the UK and get a broader range of films to audiences across the UK. Other types of films which are supported in this way include documentaries, independent English language films and classic films, all which fall outside mainstream cinema.
In addition, the UK Film Council's 240 Digital Screen Network has made it cheaper to get specialised films to more people across the UK. For instance, 136 screens in the network are currently playing the Summer of British Film season of beautifully remastered British film classics: 'Goldfinger', 'Brief Encounter', 'Henry V', 'Billy Liar', 'The Wicker Man' and 'Withnail & I'.
Alex Stolz, Senior Executive for Distribution and Exhibition at the UK Film Council, said: "In the past three years, 33 specialised films have grossed £1 million-plus at the UK box office compared to 11 in the previous three years, which shows that film culture in the UK is thriving."
Film statistics published two weeks ago by the UK Film Council showed that UK box office takings overall jumped 56% in ten years from £489 million in 1997 to £762 million in 2006. Casino Royale was the top performer in 2006 taking £55.5 million at UK cinemas.
(DS)
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