Cinema in 2021: attendance picks up again after a catastrophic year –…

On this penultimate day of 2021, the CNC takes stock of attendance at French cinemas. Worn by Spider-Man at the end of the year, attendance is picking up again after nearly 150 days of theaters’ closures.


96 million tickets sold in cinemas in 2021. Here is the results of this new year which is extraordinary for French cinemas, one year after the disastrous year 2020.

This year 2021 is once again marked by the Covid pandemic. This led to the closure of cinemas for 138 days, to the establishment of gauges and curfews during the reopening on May 19 until June 30 (initially 35% of the capacity of the cinema and curfew at 9 p.m. then, as of June 9, 65% of the capacity and curfew at 11 p.m.) which resulted in this first period a 12% drop in sessions compared to 2019, and finally to the introduction of the health pass on July 21.

The year ends on an optimistic note, with “good recovery momentum”, strongly encouraged by the enthusiasm for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has the best start in 2021 but also the best start since The Queen of snows 2 (released November 20, 2019) peaks the week at 6.2 million admissions, the best week since April 24, 2019 and the release of Avengers: Endgame.

At the end of the year, we can rejoice in a good dynamic of recovery in our rooms, which responded present and have adapted particularly well to all the measures taken to contain the pandemic. Indeed, despite four and a half months of closure and restrictive health measures, attendance reached 96 million admissions. The spectators returned to the theaters and discovered a rich and varied offer“, declared Dominique Boutonnat, President of the CNC.

As the National Center of Cinematography (CNC) indicates in its report, with 96 million admissions, attendance recorded an increase of 47% compared to 2020, but a decrease of 55% compared to the 2019 level. However, if we consider the opening period alone, from June 1 to December 31, 2021, cinema attendance reached 92.6 million admissions: the decline was then limited to 23.2% compared to the same period of 2019, which was the second best year in terms of attendance since 1966.

The recovery dynamic increased at the end of the year since with 20.43 million admissions, the month of December recorded close to normal attendance (22.68 million in 2019, 21.5 million in 2018) , specifies the CNC.

The Top 10 of the year in France (figures as of December 29, 2021)

1 Spider-Man: No Way Home : 4,604,615
2 Die can wait: 4,003,023
3 Dune: 3,163,453
4 Kaamelott – First part: 2 652 314
5 North Bac: 2,218,308
6 Encanto, the fantastic Madrigal family: 2 187 435
7 Fast & Furious 9: 2,025,112
8 Les Tuche 4: 1 938 949
9 Conjuring 3: Under the influence of the devil: 1 887 284
10 Black Widow: 1,717,172

In 2021, 2 films reach more than four million admissions, 8 films achieve more than two million admissions and 24 more than one million admissions. If the level is significantly higher than in 2020, it remains much lower than that observed before the crisis: 51 films at more than one million, on average, each year and 22 at more than two million.

The ten French films with the most admissions are Kaamelott-first film (2.7 million admissions), BAC Nord (2.2 million), Les Tuche 4 (2.0 million), OSS 117: Alerte rouge in Black Africa (1.6 million), Les Bodin’s in Thailand (1.5 million), Eiffel (1.5 million), Aline (1.3 million), Black box (1.2 million), Le loup et le lion (1.2 million) and Lost Illusions (0.8 million).

In 2021, the market share of French films was 40.8%, or 39.2 million admissions; that of American films reached 42.4%, which represents 40.8 million admissions; finally, films of other nationalities have a 16.8% market share and 16.1 million tickets sold in cinemas.

In addition to the very nice surprise of having won the Palme d’Or and the Lion d’Or, this year again French cinema offered a wide range of quality films, a number of which increased attendance. However, we remain attentive to ensuring that all films can meet their audience. We are thus working with the entire sector to redefine concerted regulation in order to preserve our model of diversity. This work should be completed during the first trimester.“, continues Dominique Boutonnat.

Another encouraging point of comparison, according to ComScore and on figures as of December 21, France is the country with the least significant drop in cinema attendance among the 5 major European countries, just ahead of Great Britain and Spain. It is also less important than that observed in the United States.

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