Rosenbaum : "As a French friend recently pointed out to me, American audiences have a tendency to regard most films as pieces of property or business ventures, an attitude reflected and encouraged by critics who refer to films at “hits” and “flops”. Perhaps this is one reason why American viewers tend to be more restless and inattentive at films than the French; having purchased a “piece of the action,” they may feel a certain anxiety about how their investment turns out. Another explanation may be two decades of television-conditioning, which seems to teach many Americans that a screen is something to be glanced at, not watched, and a soundtrack overheard as much as listened to. In France, television is still commonly regarded as a precious novelty, and one rarely sees a Frenchman watching the tube with anything less than total absorption."Upon reading Jonathan Rosenbaum's article : "Paris Journal, Spring 1972 (Paris moviegoing, MODERN TIMES)" [Film Comment, Spring 1972; slightly tweaked, September 2009] (18 Sept 2009), I thought it would be fun to take the same survey and compare the situation today. Maybe a New Yorker will be inclined to do the same for NYC today too...
Pariscope used to be my weekly bible too, indeed. That or its twin : L'Officiel des Spectacles. But that's how we see things have changed... today I rely instead on a free online service (AlloCiné), which is a pretty good database of all French releases, week by week, screen by screen. It cost 3F in 1992 when I arrived in Paris, and it costs 0;40€ today, so the price is stable. But I bet the sales have been eaten up by the web offering of the same infos, more instantaneous. Séances was a great signpost for all obscure screenings in the capital (unfortunately discontinued in 2008). Certainly better than Cahiers's incomplete calendar, once a month, prepared too early, and not updated in real time. They never understood (to this day!) the Cahiers website had to play a day-to-day role to connect with their "monthly" readers...
So according to Pariscope #2158 (week of 30 Sept - 6 Oct 2009) 37 years later :
- 78 commercial cinémas (Paris "intramuros" city-centre)
- 85 commercial cinémas (Paris suburbs)
- 3 institutions (La Cinémathèque, Centre Pompidou, Forum des Images)
- La Cinémathèque = 35 films (3 screens)
- Centre Pompidou = 11 films (3 screens)
- Forum des Images = 35 films (3 screens)
- not counting the screenings at the various museums and foreign cultural centres (Jeu de Paume, Goethe Institute, Musée Guimet, Auditorium du Louvre, Institut du Monde Arabe, Fondation Cartier, Maison du Japon, Institut Finlandais, Maison de la Russie, Institut Hongrois, Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Centre Tchèque, Institut Néérlandais, Maison du Danemark, Institut Coréen...)
26,720,000 admissions sold in Paris in 2008 = 12.57 admissions per inhabitant per year (on average).
Stats CNC 2005 "art & essai" / arthouse (PDF) in Paris megalopole (+suburbs) : 138 arthouses (=49.3 % of total arthouses France); 283 arthouse screens (=30.5% of total arthouse screens in France); 52439 arthouse seats (=26.9% of total arthouses seats France); 184 parisian inhabitants per arthouse seat; 49 parisian inhabitants per seat (all cinemas).
Total unique film titles projected on Parisian public screens : 437 =
- 13 new releases this week (5 USA, 4 France, 1 Korea, 1 Australia, 1 Mexico, 1 Morocco)
- 221 current run titles (196 on commercial circuit + 24 in institutions)
- 202 revival titles (146 on commercial circuit + 56 in institutions)
- 101 : USA (23%)
- 76 : France (18%)
- 24 : Italy (5.5%)
- 22 : Japan (5%)
- 21 : UK (4.8%)
- 20 : China (4.6%)
- 19 : Germany (4.5%)
- 6 (each) : Spain, Israel
- 5 : Korea, Czech Rep.
- 4 : Russia, Canada
- 3 : Taiwan, Sweden
- 2 : Portugal, Australia, Denmark
- 1 : Brazil, Hungary, Algeria, Austria, Finland, Morocco, Serbia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cameroon, Iran, Argentina, Peru, Cuba, Greece, New Zealand, Switzerland, Senegal, Poland, Mexico
- 18% : France = 78 films
- 82% : Foreign films (all non-French) = 359 films
- 37.8% : EU = 165 films
- 62.2% : Foreign films (all non-EU) = 272 films
Nowadays, there is no more unsubtitled prints in Paris, or at La Cinémathèque (maybe rare exceptions). If the original version is not subtitled in French, at least there is English subtitles provided (in exceptional cases for rare prints). Commercial multiplexes (outside Paris) usually run a dubbed version for American films, but in Paris there is at least 1 original version available for each title. Which is more like at least 50-50% ratio of Subs/French dub. I mean it's rare when a film only screens in its French translation.