Summary of our market study

The global cinema market experienced a severe downturn in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with market sales plummeting by over 72%, from a record high of $42.3 billion to just $11.8 billion. Despite this, the market has shown signs of recovery, with revenues rising to $25.9 billion in 2022. However, this figure is still 35%. The Asia-Pacific region holds the largest market share at 37%, followed by North America at 29%. In France, the leading market in Europe, the cinema industry also suffered, with attendance dropping by 69.4% in 2020.

The French cinema attendance began to recover in 2022 with 152 million admissions, yet this was still below pre-pandemic levels. The landscape is shifting towards multiplexes, with 247 multiplexes in 2022, while single-screen cinemas have seen a decline. Multiplexes also garner the majority of cinema admissions, despite making up only 12% of French cinemas. Although the industry faced obstacles during the health crisis, innovations such as 3D and various immersive experiences, in addition to government support, signal a hopeful outlook for the cinema market.

Resurgence of Cinema Attendance Amidst Ongoing Recovery

Cinemas in the concerned country experienced a dramatic fall in attendance due to the health crisis of 2020, but recent trends indicate a promising resurgence. In 2020, the number of individuals who visited cinemas plummeted by approximately 70% to just over 65 million admissions compared to the previous year's figure of more than 215 million. While such a decline had a significant impact on the industry, recent figures from 2022 show encouraging signs of recovery, with attendance rates reaching approximately 152 million, indicating a notable increase of around 87% compared to 2020 figures.

Despite the optimism in rising attendance rates, the industry has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, with a gap of approximately 25-30% when compared to the attendance rates recorded. Nevertheless, the upward trend is a positive indicator of the sector's resilience. The demographic prominently contributing to cinema attendance in France comprises seniors, who make up over a third of all admissions, with those aged 50 and over accounting for approximately 34%. Interestingly, while seniors take the lead in admissions, younger age groups, particularly those between 3 to 24 years old, are over-represented in the cinema-going demographics relative to their share in the overall population. The average movie-goer in the country frequented cinemas around 3.8 times in 2022, signaling a steady interest in cinema despite the availability of alternative entertainment options, such as streaming services.

The French population continues to display a decent level of engagement with cinemas, with over 60% having attended at least once in 2022. This rebound is particularly remarkable given the mandatory health restrictions at the beginning of 2022, which included full vaccination requirements, and a dearth in the supply of American films, traditionally a mainstay in the country's cinemas. Cinemas themselves are evolving, with the number of screens growing significantly over time, from approximately 5,470 to over 6,290 in 2022. Multiplexes, characterized by offering at least eight screens, have seen a substantial increase, with their number rising by approximately 40% within the same period. This growth can be attributed to their ability to attract a more substantial audience share and be more profitable, offering a clue to how market dynamics favor larger, more versatile establishments. Single-screen cinemas, with their numbers steadily dwindling, testify to this evolving market structure.

Key Players Shaping the Cinematic Landscape

As the curtains rise, the spotlight falls on a collective of cinematic maestros leading the charge in revamping and elevating the movie-going experience. Within the grand theater of film exhibition and distribution, a few marquee names deserve special mention for their contributions to the industry.

Majestic Contenders of Theatrical Exhibition

  • Pathé Gaumont stands tall as a vital protagonist in the narrative of French cinema, boasting a lineage of theaters that have become cultural landmarks. As a bearer of cinematic tradition, Pathé Gaumont not only exhibits films but also takes pride in creating a memorable ambiance that complements the storytelling on the silver screen.
  • UGC, with its own chain of multiplexes, signifies modernity and convenience, offering audiences the ultimate cinema experience with state-of-the-art projection and sound systems. They are known for their innovative programming strategies that curate a mix of blockbuster fare alongside art-house selections.
  • CGR Cinemas, another protagonist in this tale, has distinguished itself with its impressive expansion of multiplexes. With a keen eye on technological advancements such as 3D and premium large formats, CGR continues to push the boundaries of immersive cinema.
  • Cinéligue, albeit shrouded in mystery with undisclosed sales figures, contributes its own unique flavor to the cinema landscape, providing audiences with diverse film choices and experiences that cater to various tastes and preferences.

Producers and Broadcasters: The Storytellers Behind the Scenes

  • Netflix has emerged as the avant-garde force in content production and streaming, offering an ocean of diverse narratives that have changed the way stories are consumed and challenging the traditional paradigms of movie viewing.
  • SFR Play steps onto the stage with its multifaceted services, including SFR Play which enriches the on-demand streaming arena with its curated selection of films and series, making a mark in the digital evolution of film consumption.
  • Canal Plus Groupe, through its platform MyCanal, serves as a bridge between classic cinema and contemporary viewing habits, balancing its offerings to include both theatrical releases and a deep vault of on-demand content. France Télévision remains a cornerstone of French cultural broadcasting, delivering a spectrum of films that mirror society's myriad hues and ensuring that the silver screen reflects the stories of all.
  • The TF1 Group has managed to create a synergy between television broadcasting and the cinematic world, thereby contributing significantly to the promotion and dissemination of films on multiple screens and formats.
  • VideoFutur may not boast the towering sales figures of its counterparts.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

Cinemas are where films are shown. In fact, after production and distribution, a film's exploitation comes down to its screening in cinemas in front of an audience. There are several types of exhibitor, distinguished according to different criteria:

  • small-scale or industrial : this criterion depends above all on the number of screens, which creates the difference between single-screen cinemas, miniplexes (several screens) and multiplexes (more than eight screens);
  • independent or salaried operator: salaried operators are dependent on the major national and international groups that dominate the market (Gaumont Pathé, UGC, MK2, etc.).

Driven by the production of American blockbusters, but also by Bollywood's high productivity, the global cinema market expanded rapidly until the health crisis of 2020. After reaching a record value of $42.3 billion in 2019, market sales fell by over 72% in 2020. By 2022, this figure had risen to $25.9 billion. The Asia-Pacific region has the largest market share (at 37%), followed by North America (29%). Despite the rise of streaming and video-on-demand platforms, the industry still manages to attract a sizeable audience thanks to innovations that enable an ever more immersive experience. As a result, the number of tickets sold has been rising sharply since 2019 (+87% between 2022 and 2020).

In France, Europe's largest market, cinema has had a strong cultural importance since its beginnings, as evidenced by the number of French pioneers (Étienne-Jules Marey, Émile Reynaud, Louis Lumière among many others). This tradition has endured to the present day, and France is home to one of the world's greatest film festivals: the Cannes Film Festival.

Cinema attendance is still reeling from the health crisis, although the number of screenings has caught up with 2019. The cinema-going population, which refers to the population of people aged three and over who have been to the cinema at least once in the year, is also growing, on the verge of catching up with the average near Covid-19, fluctuating between 65% and 69%. In recent years, French films have been answering the call from American films, which have long been the most widely screened films in France.

Although the number of establishments has remained relatively constant for over a decade, the number of screens is growing strongly, due to the rise of multiplexes, which offer more attractive business models than single-screens and miniplexes. The French landscape is thus experiencing a period of upheaval worthy of the best American movie scripts.

1.2 A heavily affected but fast-growing global market

The global cinema market is still in a state of flux, having experienced a historic drop in **** due to the health crisis. It fell from $**.* billion in ****, a record, to $**.* billion in **** (***) before reaching $**.* billion in ****.

evolution of global cinema market size World, **** - ****, in $ billions Source: ****

The global box office ...

1.3 France, Europe's leading market

After two years marked by a sharp drop in revenues, these finally topped the billion euro mark in ****, but have still not exceeded **** figures.

Box-office receipts for cinemas in France France, **** - ****, in current €M Source: ****

The decline observed in **** is mainly due to the health restrictions of the first quarter ...

1.4 Theatrical market hit by COVID-19 crisis

Between temporary cinema closures, reduced capacity and the implementation of strict sanitary protocols, French cinemas had a difficult year in ****. Indeed, the Covid-** crisis left its mark on ****, particularly as far as the cinema market was concerned: a total of *** days of closures were recorded throughout the year.

As can be ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Cinema attendance still reeling from the health crisis

A large part of producers' income depends on revenues from films shown in cinemas (***), so cinema attendance is a major determinant of producers' business.

Attendance at French cinemas fell by **.*% in ****, to just **.* million admissions, compared with over *** million admissions in ****. The year **** was also marked by very low attendance, but ...

2.2 A mostly occasional and increasingly numerous audience

The cinema-going population is defined as all individuals aged three and over who went to the cinema at least once during the year. Regular movie-goers are defined as those who go at least once a week, regular movie-goers as those who go at least once a month (***).

Structure of cinema-going public France, ...

2.3 A predominantly older, female and inactive film-going population

Demographically speaking, seniors (***) still account for the majority of cinema-goers, with **.*% of admissions.

French cinema attendance by age group France, ****, in Source: ****

However, if we compare these figures with the shares of these age groups in the French population, we see that * - ** year-olds and ** - ** year-olds are over-represented in ...

2.4 French films steal the show from American films

In France, the majority of films shown in cinemas are French or American, and have been for a long time. American films are generally more widely distributed than French ones, but this is not always the case. For example, in **** and ****, French films were shown more than American films.

Films shown ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Market structure diagram

Source: ****

3.2 More and more screens in France, but a relatively constant number of cinemas

The number of active screens in France has risen steadily in recent years. Indeed, as we can see from the following graph, the number of screens rose from *,*** in **** to *,*** in ****, an increase of **%. The increase slowed in **** due to the health crisis, but did not stop there (***). The increase then ...

3.3 The decline of single-screen cinemas and the breakthrough of multiplexes

Small cinemas are still in the majority in France, even if the trend is downward. As can be seen from the graphs below, single-screen cinemas will still account for **.*% of the total number of screens in ****. However, the share of establishments with fewer than * screens is tending to decline inexorably, to ...

3.4 Public funding

The CNC is a key player in the French film and audiovisual landscape, and is also involved in financing these sectors through grants. In ****, the CNC disbursed ***.* million euros in support. The breakdown by sector was as follows.

Breakdown of CNC support by sector France, ****, in Source: ****

Cinema therefore benefited most ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 The rise of mutliplexes in France

According to the CNC definition, a multiplex must have at least eight screens. Today, multiplexes account for almost **% of the total number of cinemas. As shown in the graph below, the number of multiplexes in France has risen from *** in **** to *** in **** (***).

Number of multiplexes in France France, **** - ****, in number ...

4.2 Steadily rising prices

Changes in average ticket prices contribute to fluctuations in box office receipts. Prices vary according to the category of establishment (***), as well as according to programming and broadcasting mode. Generally speaking, the average price of a cinema ticket has been rising for many years.

average box office per cinema admission France, ...

4.3 Innovation at the heart of cinema offerings

To face up to the new competition from streaming platforms and on-demand cinema offerings, cinemas are having to renew their offer. As a result, cinemas are modernizing with the aim of renewing the customer and movie-goer experience, integrating *D, for example. *D technology has been widely used in cinemas since the ...

4.4 Pathé Gaumont, France's largest cinema exhibitor

Pathé Gaumont! is the leading cinema operator in mainland France, with a total of ** locations across the country, followed by CGR with ** and UGC with **. They are followed by CGR, with ** locations, and UGC, with **. The exhibitors shown in the chart below are those with more than *% of box-office receipts in ...

5 Regulations

5.1 The CNC's leading role in the industry's supervision

CNC's role in the industry :

The Centre National de la Cinématographie was created in ****. Its role is to manage the State's financial support for the film industry. Among the CNC's most important prerogatives are [***]:

support for film production and distribution; creation and modernization of movie the aters ; production of programs ...

5.2 Regulations governing the activities of movie theaters: the Code de cinéma et de l'image animée (French Code of Cinema and Moving Images)

The CNC also establishes a legal framework for the activity of movie theaters. In addition, the French Code de cinéma et de l'image animée provides a precise regulatory framework for movie theaters. The following list of regulations is not intended to be exhaustive, as they cover a very broad ...

6 Positioning the players

6. Positioning the players

  • Pathé Gaumont
  • CGR Cinemas
  • UGC
  • TF1 Groupe
  • Netflix
  • Canal Plus Groupe (MyCanal)
  • France Télévision
  • VideoFutur
  • SFR (SFR Play)
  • Cinéligue
  • MK2
  • Kinepolis
  • Mégarama
  • Cineville
  • Dulac Cinemas
  • Grand Ecran groupe
  • Reynaud Groupe Cinéma
  • Majestic Cinémas

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Trends in the size of the global cinema market
  • Number of cinema tickets sold
  • Worldwide box office market share
  • Changes in box office receipts
  • Ranking of European countries with the highest cinema attendance
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Latest news

TF1 shifts its business model to on-demand television - 21/12/2023
  • Launch of TF1+ on January 8
  • MyTF1 advertising revenues: around 100 million euros per year
  • Advertising revenues for group channels: just over 1.5 billion euros
  • 15.000 hours of premium content on TF1+ 200 family films, 200 TV movies,
  • MyTF1 is consulted 3 hours per subscriber per month
  • Netflix and YouTube viewed approximately 22 hours per month
  • Netflix has around 40,000 hours of programming
  • Amazon and Disney+ have nearly 15,000 hours of programming
Canal+ put into orbit to make acquisitions and continue to grow - 14/12/2023
  • Canal+, forty years old next year.
  • Canal+ is valued at around 5.4 billion euros according to analyst consensus.
  • The group has more than 25 million subscribers today, up from 11.5 million in 2016.
  • It has expanded into almost 50 countries.
  • It owns 32.6% of Multichoice, 26% of Viu and 12% of Viaplay.
  • It has acquired Luxembourg operator M7 in 2019 and publisher SPI International in 2021.
  • 515 million euros in Ebita by 2022.
  • Portfolio includes channels C8, CNews, Nordic platforms Viaplay and Viu in Hong Kong, subsidiary GVA and Dailymotion.
Grand Ecran groupe: The revival of movie theaters in Vendée - 13/10/2023
  • The family-owned Limoges group currently has 11 cinemas in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region
  • Three projects for multiplex cinemas have been submitted by municipalities in the Vendée region.
    • The new Le Concorde cinema in La Roche-sur-Yon is valued at 3 million euros and aims to welcome 100,000 spectators a year.
    • in Montaigu-Vendée, a new 6-screen, 890-seat complex will replace the old cinema in June 2024. Private operator Grand Ecran is investing 5.5 million euros in the project, with an estimated attendance of 220,000 per year.
    • in Fontenay-le-Comte, a new Grand Ecran cinema, costing 4.5 million euros, will replace the old three-screen cinema. The new cinema will offer 758 seats, and is expected to double attendance to 150,000 cinema-goers per year.
Canal+ reaches out to young people - 17/05/2023
  • Young people now account for a third of Canal+'s new subscribers.
  • The weight of young people in the subscriber base has doubled over the past two years.
  • In France, Canal+ had 9.5 million subscribers by the end of 2022 (including packages via operators), compared with 8.4 million in 2019.
CGR, the management leaves the family company - 03/05/2023
  • Second largest French cinema network in terms of number of screens.
  • Founded in 1966 by Georges Raymond.
  • Sales of 300 million euros (approx.) generated by the La Rochelle-based group.
  • 74 establishments with a total of 700 screens.
  • Hotels and restaurants account for a quarter of revenues.
  • Shareholders expected between 500 and 700 million euros for theatres, distribution company Apollo Films and projection system ICE Theaters.
Canal+ integrates Apple TV into its offering - 14/04/2023
  • Canal+ subscribers to benefit from Apple TV+ content from April 20
  • The multi-year agreement will be valid in France and Switzerland, then extended to the Czech Republic and Slovakia
  • The agreement enables Apple to expand its audience to 9.5 million Canal+-subscribing households in France by the end of 2022
  • Apple is a small player in France compared with Disney+ and Netflix, the latter of which has around 10 million subscribers
  • Canal+ already offers access to Disney+, Netflix, Paramount+ and OCS in its Séries offering

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Pathé Gaumont
CGR Cinemas
TF1 Groupe
Canal Plus Groupe (MyCanal)
France Télévision
SFR (SFR Play)

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