French survey: “Les français, le cinéma et les critiques,” or how they choose the movies they see

The French pioneering Lumière brothers, Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis (1864-1948), pictured above and both inventors of the moving pictures, screened their first film in March 1895, a 46 seconds and one shot moving picture titled “Sortie des Usines Lumières à Lyon” (a.k.a. “Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory”). It marked the beginning of France as one of Europe’s most cinephile countries since day one, with since then countless influential directors and screenwriters, and new impulses such as the New Wave to its credit. Up until today, France still is a leading force as far as films and its incredible film output is concerned.

Today, 121 years after Lumière’s first film effort, the French Club Média Ciné with its 37 film journalists of the written press, radio and television, and Opinion Way did a thorough research in France last Spring among 1,004 participants, all age 18 and older, representing the French cinema-going public of today, to see how and why they decide to buy their tickets when they go out and see a movie in the theater. With the Lumière days long gone now – but not forgotten – everybody looks at things from an entirely different perspective, and their survey proved to be very worthwhile.

With a total of ten questions and all the answers analyzed in detail (including male-female and various group ages), as you can find out here, we pick out a few interesting ones (they all are, actually), and check them out. Here we go.

How often do you go to the cinema?

  • 23 %  –  6 to 12 times a year
  • 22 %  –  less than once a year
  • 21 %  –  3 to 6 times a year
  • 15 %  –  once or twice a year
  •   9 %  –  once or more than once a week
  •   9 %  –  once a year
  •   1 %  –  every day

Why do you choose the film you’re about to see?

  • 31 %  –  the screenplay
  • 25 %  –  the trailer
  • 16 %  –  the actors
  •   8 %  –  word of mouth
  •   6 %  –  film criticism
  •   5 %  –  the poster
  •   4 %  –  response of the audience
  •   3 %  –  the director
  •   1 %  –  box-office receipts

Do you read, listen to, or look at critics’ reviews before making your choice?

  • 60 %  –  from time to time
  • 24 %  –  rarely
  • 17 %  –  always or almost always
  • 15 %  –  never

Where do you read, listen to, or look at critics’ reviews before making your choice?

  • 43 %  –  specialized websites
  • 23 %  –  television
  • 18 %  –  written press (general)
  •   8 %  –  written press (specialized)
  •   7 %  –  radio

When you choose the film you want to see, do you keep in mind the critic’s opinion?

  • 42 %  –  yes, slightly
  • 29 %  –  not really
  • 17 %  –  not at all
  • 11 %  –  yes, a lot

After having read, listened to, or looked at a critic’s negative film review, would you decide not to see a movie which you had planned to go to?

  • 37 %  –  yes, sometimes
  • 35 %  –  no, rarely
  • 22 %  –  no, never
  •   5 %  –  yes, often

After having read, listened to, or looked at a critic’s positive film review, would you decide to see a movie which you didn’t plan to go to?

  • 50 %  –  yes, sometimes
  • 27 %  –  no, rarely
  • 16 %  –  no, never
  •   5 %  –  yes, often

Would you go to see the movie which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival?

  • 37 %  –  no, rarely
  • 34 %  –  no, never
  • 25 %  –  from time to time
  •   3 %  –  probably or certainly