The pandemic and self-isolation have reduced cinema activity in 2020. But the latest figures from CNC show that 2021 has had an impact on French manufacturing. Return almost to the pre-crisis level. Decryption.
All productions, regardless of genre, must be approved by the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC) before they can be released in theaters. In 2020, 237 films were approved in this way. There were 340 in 2021, according to data released on Monday, March 28 by a public agency. This impressive and unprecedented rebound is because many of the surveys taken in 2021 should have been taken in 2020 before they were postponed. due to the Covid pandemic.
CNC put up its average figures for the last two years to smooth out the results of production during the crisis and give a more dignified image. This gives a result that is more in line with normal data. So since 2020, there have been an average of 289 films produced each year since 2020, which is slightly less overall than the 301 films in 2019, the last fiscal year before Covid. Despite this slight decline in the number of approved films, the health crisis could not but affect the film industry. “Distributors suffer the most, especially independent ones. says Magali Valente, CNC film director. But none of them died. » The pandemic has created a traffic jam of films waiting to be released, further limiting their chances of success as audiences are still hesitant to return to theaters.
Mostly low budget films
To finance the approved 340 films, 2021 was marked by a high level of investment, with a total of 1.1 billion euros spent on production, almost on par with the all-time high of 2016 (1.2 billion euros). At the time, this covered 283 films with an average production budget of €5.5 million (Valerian and the city of a thousand planets Luc Besson, with his 200 million euros weighing heavily on the scales). In 2021, the average estimate does not exceed 4.2 million euros, the lowest amount in the last ten years, even though the production of films is more expensive, and the total cost of French cinema has exceeded the symbolic figure of one billion euros.
During the health crisis, there were fewer very low-budget films (productions under €1 million still account for 25.3% of the total). But there are many more low-budget feature films: almost 65% of productions cost less than 4 million euros, a percentage that has never been higher since 2014. too much limited funds…
Four very large productions
Amidst this avalanche of smaller productions, potential blockbusters have greatly contributed to the increase in investment in French cinema. Last year, four films, a rare occurrence, were presented with an estimate of more than 30 million euros. Asterix and Obelix: Celestial, Guillaume Canet, thanks to the prestigious and therefore expensive casting and part of the filming in China, is among the ten most expensive feature films in the history of France (65 million euros). two strands Three Musketeers reviewed and edited by Mathieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patelière, were valued at a total of 60 million euros – both films also have a brilliant cast, with François Civil, Vincent Cassel, Pio Marmai, Romain Duris or Eva Green in the headliners. And the budget Notre Dame is on fire Jean-Jacques Annaud, released on 16 March with 380,000 visits in its first week of operation, made 30 million euros. These four Pathé productions alone account for over 10% of film investment for 2021.
Television remains a mainstay
Television still heavily finances French cinema, up to 30.1% of the total (the share of producers is 37.1%). Although they have not met their participation commitments in 2020 (also due to a smaller number of approved films), the channels will catch up in 2021 by investing 337 million euros. Canal+, which has to invest more or less 200 million euros a year, remains in fact the leading private sponsor of the seventh art in France.
At the same time, the share of state support reached its highest level (10% of the total) thanks to Covid-19 special assistance, and foreign contributions have never been so low (4.6%) over the past ten years. The CNC estimates that in 2022, foreign funding should start to rise again due to the gradual lifting of health restrictions. The public establishment is also hoping for a massive return of moviegoers to darkrooms to return to pre-pandemic entry levels. Expectations that may seem very optimistic if we look at the attendance figures, which have been rather disappointing since the beginning of the year.