French filmmaking in 2022 boosted by international co-productions and streaming

Production in 2022 returned to a level close to pre-pandemic levels with 287 films approved, and investment from streaming giants

By Priyanca Rajput 31 Mar 2023

French filmmaking in 2022 boosted by international co-productions and streaming
Jeanne Du Barry. Credit: Why Not Productions

French production stabilised in 2022 but is still below pre-Covid levels, according to an annual report published by France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC) released on Wednesday (March 29).

After "catching up" with a record number of approved films in 2021, production in 2022 returned to a level of production close to those observed before the health crisis, says the CNC's film production review.

With 287 films approved in 2022, production has retained a sense of stability at the average of the last decade (288 films). However, the number of French initiative films (FIF) is declining: it stands at 208 films approved in 2022, down 10.% compared to the 2017-2019 average which was at its highest (233 films in average, compared to less than 200 films per year before 2010).

Co-productions, meanwhile are at a record level due to the easing of travel restrictions which continued in 2022 and a catch-up effect. For the first time since 2003, half of the films approved in 2022 (50.2%) are co-productions.

There was also an increase in the average budget for French initiative films, despite slightly lower total investments. This is marked by a near €1.2bn investment in licensed production last year. French contributions amounted to €898.5m, down from the 2017-2019 average (-6%), but higher than in 2019 (+4.5%).

Nearly two-thirds of FIFs have a budget of less than €4m, with a share of films between €1m and €4m at its highest level since 2014 (39.9% in 2022). Four films have budgets of more than €20m: Miraculous: the film by Jeremy Zag, Life for Real by Dany Boon, Johnny Depp starrer Jeanne du Barry by Maïwenn and Dogman by Luc Besson.

The average budget per French initiative film increased for the second consecutive year to reach €4.4m in 2022, the highest since 2017 (€4.9m), and €4.1m without taking into account the only film with a budget greater than €50m.

Broadcasters, who are major partners in funding contribute nearly 30% of FIF budgets. Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video - have invested in 17 approved French initiative films in 2022 with an average contribution of €1.2m. Canal+ remains the leading funder among broadcasters. 

Finally, the number of shooting days fell by 15.1% compared to the 2017-2019 average, to 5,352 days. Filming days abroad increased by 22.0% compared to 2021 to 1,216 days, without however returning to their pre-pandemic level (1,436 days on average).

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