I love to go to the movies! I am not a TV person but definitively a movie one. I suppose it is because, as a child, I went only once in a movie theater. My mother told me that before they got married, my Dad and her went every Saturday evening to the cinema. That seems to have been too much for them. Later, they turned out to be TV watchers.
Ever since that time, I have really caught up. I go to the movie with my children, my husband, friends or alone. A few days ago, my 15 years old daughter enjoyed a movie, alone with her popcorn. She came back home, smiling bright. Later on, we spoke a long time about differences between cinema in Germany (where she was born), in France (where I was born) and in the United States (where we live). I spent then a few hours on the web to figure out differences between the French, German and American cinema and their moviegoers.
About Differences between the American, German and French Cinema
# 1 – French film industry is doing well
In 2014, box office revenues rise by 8 % in France. They drop by 5 % in the United States and by 6 % in Germany. For years, the German film industry has faced a real decrease in frequentation.
# 2 – Americans are going more often to the movies
French people go to the movies twice as much as Germans, but still less than Americans. In 2014, Germans went 1.5 time to the movies, the French 3.1 and Americans 3.8
# 3 – French films dominate in France
French production represent 44 % of all admissions in France but 26 % only for German films in Germany. American movies dominate US and German theaters. On the other hand, top movies in France were three French productions.
# 4 – Germany : the most expensive ticket price
It is 25 % cheaper to go to the movie in the US than in Germany, but only 7 % less than in France.
For years now, ticket price increases in Germany which could be a reason for the decrease in frequentation. A ticket costs on average $ 10.4 in Germany, $ 6.4 in France and $ 5.9 in the United States.
Price structure is very simple in the US : one price for adult and one lower price for younger ones. It is a little less simple in France as there are different prices for adults, children, students, pensioners and unemployed persons. And it gets really complicated in Germany where It depends on the weekday and on the schedule. Approximately it is cheaper to go on Tuesday during the day and more expensive on Saturday evening.
# 5 – Germany is nearly a desert
In terms of screens, Germany is nearly a desert. There are twice more screens per inhabitants in the United States (11.1) than in Germany (5.7).
I lived in Wiesbaden until 2013. In this city of 280.000 inhabitants, there was no theater with multiple screens. I had to drive 10 miles to Mainz or 25 miles to Francfort if I wanted to experience a multiplex. In Wiesbaden, there are only nine screens which made an average of 3.2 per 100.000 inhabitants.
# 6 – American franchises dominate US and German markets
In Germany and in the US, sagas like Hunger Games or Captain America find the most audience. Not in France where individual films prevail over franchises.
# 7 – Multiracial jokes in movies work in France and Germany
In 2014, the comedy named Serial (Bad) Weddings led the French box office and ended #3 in Germany. The movie is about a catholic family and its four daughters’ multiracial weddings.
For French native speakers but not only, here is the trailer with English subtitles from Serial (Bad) Weddings. Enjoy it as it will not be shown in the US because of its politically incorrect dimension.
# 8 – French movies export well.
Curiously Germans consider cinema as an art and not an industry. Meanwhile in France, cinema is named the 7th art but is also a flourishing industry. Just to rub it in: German movies don’t export well. Too much long movies about WWII or its consequences (Good Bye Lenin, The Lives of Others)?
So hurray, French films are doing well in the US and in Germany. In 2014, Lucy made $ 363 million in the US. Years before, The Artist, Intouchables or Taken franchises pushed sales of French productions. German love French movies. So it is not surprising that „Serial (Bad) Weddings“ ended #3 at the German box office in 2014.