The effervescence of cinema, a priority of French society

The French’s attachment to cinema is as strong as ever. Dominique BOUTONNAT, President of the National Centre for Cinema and Animated Image (CNC) unveiled the CNC’s annual study of cinema attendance (1). It presents national data as well as details by regions, departments and municipalities. The ranking of Art and Essay cinemas, in the service of independent films, places the New Aquitaine region in second place.

The cinematic and cultural appetite persists

France is the first film park in Europe. There are 2,000 cinemas and no less than 6,000 screens across the country. The second park happens to be that of Germany with approximately 4,800 screens. This indicates a real cultural interest that continues among the French. Attendance is very high with a total of 200 million admissions for the year 2018 (1). Each inhabitant goes to the cinema on average three times each year to satisfy his cinematic pleasure. The distribution between women and men is very close: 52% of the spectators are men and 48% are women.

Namely that 50% of the spectators are regular. This means that a Sunday outing quickly turns into a regular, not an occasional, one-off outing. The French are getting a taste for cinema. This cultural activity becomes a real hobby. It helps to form a community that many want to belong to. France has a definite interest in creating original and national works. Indeed, nearly 40% of admissions sold over one year come from French films. We are also very fond of American creations because 44% of admissions are for American films.

An eclectic spectator who is gradually rejuvenating

Comedies, author films, thrillers, action films or science fiction… there is now a real diversity in cinema. Spectators aged 50 and over are in the majority. However, young people (15-24 years old) are becoming more and more interested in cinema. Yet put to the test with video-on-demand platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime…), cinema continues to attract more people each year. Young audiences are particularly targeted by the film industry with adapted offers. Students in particular benefit from greatly reduced rates in multiplexes such as UGC Cinema. In addition, communication around cinemas has evolved. The relay on social networks in particular is widely used, for any film release, preview, promotional offer …

According to the CNC’s Cinema Geography, one-third of 15-24 year olds consult their networks to find out what’s new about their cinema. A “Digital Tour de France” has been organised to help some cinemas gradually move to the digitalization of their services. For example, the development of digital ticketing to attract young people has been created. Despite the strong competition from digital platforms in recent years, cinema has been able to adapt.

Spectators cinema room 3D popcorn
The technological advances of cinema aim to make the experience more immersive, and consequently attract more young viewers.

New Aquitaine, 2nd region in number of cinemas ranked Art and Essay

Among film buffs across France, the New Aquitaine region stands out with the cinemas of Art and Essay. Thus, in Gironde, 30 establishments are classified Art and Essay (out of the 46 present on the department). It is one of the French departments with the highest number of Art and Essay-listed rooms (73% compared to a national average of 58%). Last year, more than 17 million admissions were sold in New Aquitaine. Each resident visited the cinema three times a year. However, the spectators are younger than those on the national average with 30% of students.

Promotional offers for young people are not the only factor in this craze. Indeed, Bordeaux hosts a lot of schools specializing in film and audiovisual. Screenplay, comedy and directing are thus studied. High schools on the one hand offer a Cinema or Audiovisual option. Saint-Genès La Salle High School offers a CAP to become a Cinema Projectionist Operator. Many schools have also specialized in the seventh art: ESTBA (higher school of theatre in Bordeaux in Aquitaine), 3is (which offers a course in film/audiovisual with a specialization in screenplay, directing, editing and production), EICAR (international school of audiovisual creation and directing), and many others…

Cinema events and technological prowess

The New Aquitaine region is also the site of many film events, including the famous Angoulême Francophone Film Festival. Born from the passion of cinema of Marie-France Brière and Dominique Besnehard in 2008, the festival defends a popular cinema and “made in France”. The festival welcomes tens of thousands of spectators each year. This cinematic event saw the birth of the first steps of great films such as: Boys and William at Table! by Guillaume Gallienne or Untouchables by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. The 12th edition, the one in 2019, was used to broadcast The Kabul Swallows by Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec.

In addition to the quality of the films, cinematography immersion is strengthened thanks to the arrival of many premium cinemas equipped with 4DX or Imax. Enough to delight the enthusiasts, and allow to perpetuate the operation of the halls.


(1) “The Geography of THE CNC Cinema”

(2) Francophone film

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