Swiss cinemas haven't been spared the economic downturn and have reported their worst figures since records began in 1995.
The 6.68 million tickets sold in the first half of 2008 was down four per cent on the same period in 2007. This itself was down 17 per cent on the previous year, according to ProCinema, the national film distribution association.
Head of ProCinema René Gerber blamed Euro 2008, which was co-hosted by Switzerland and Austria, and unusually sunny weekends. But although tickets were down nine per cent in German-speaking Switzerland, attendance rose in French-speaking Switzerland by nine per cent.
This was explained to a large degree by two French films coming in the top three so far this year: Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, the most successful French film of all time, attracted 413,000 viewers in Switzerland in the last four days of the survey alone.
This was followed by the latest Indiana Jones film (350,000 tickets) and the French-language Asterix at the Olympic Games (255,000).
Swiss productions managed to attract a mere 2.5 per cent of the audience share. The Federal Culture Office recently all but admitted that its strategy of focusing on big "locomotives" that would pull the Swiss film industry needed changing.
Max & Co, an animation that at SFr30 million ($27 million) was the most expensive Swiss film ever, attracted fewer than 30,000 cinemagoers. The production company recently went bust.
Nevertheless Gerber remained optimistic for the second half of 2008, with the latest Batman film rocketing up the charts and the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, directed by Swiss Marc Forster, hitting cinemas in autumn.
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