The latest at the French box office
Gad Elmaleh, "darling" of French audiences
Among French films released in the home market in March, the big surprise comes from “Darling.” The film by Merzak Allouache, featuring the character of Darling, created and personified by Gad Elmaleh, has got off to an excellent start in France, attracting 1 million spectators in its opening week. With 402 prints of the film released March 19 by Warner Bros., the film thus boasted an impressive per print average of 2,496 admissions. Riding high on this successful launch, the film’s release was extended to 531 prints in its second week, and pulled in 753,304 spectators. Slipping back by just 25% in its second week, the future of this film produced by Christian Fechner and sold by Roissy Films looks bright with promise, especially considering that the school vacation period in France starts next week.
Released in France one week later, the new film by Jean Becker, “Effroyables Jardins,” starring Jacques Villeret, André Dussollier, Thierry Lhermitte and Benoît Magimel, amassed 308,054 admissions in its opening week, with 448 prints in circulation. Sold by UGC International and distributed by UFD, the film should also benefit from the school vacation period and put in a good performance in the long term, as is traditionally the case for Jean Becker films.
In a more specialized film category, the latest Alain Corneau film ”Stupeur et tremblements,” pulled in close to 300,000 spectators in its first three weeks on French screens. With 159 prints released by Bac Distribution, the screen adaptation of the novel by Amélie Nothomb stars Sylvie Testud, and is sold by Wild Bunch. The film portrays the adventures of a young French woman working in a Japanese company. As for "Not for or Against” by Cédric Klapisch, sold by M6 DA and released March 5, the film has attracted 350,000 moviegoers to date.
Of the French films showing during March but released in previous weeks, a number of titles have crossed significant thresholds. The latest Chabrol, “The Flower of Evil” (produced and sold by MK2), has reached 1 million spectators in March, as has a film in another vein altogether, the comedy “Laughter and Punishment,” by Isabelle Duval, starring José Garcia.
“Taxi 3” by Gérard Krawczyk (produced and sold by EuropaCorp) has crossed the 6 million admissions mark (€34 million) and comes close to rivaling the score of the first ”Taxi." The sequel to ”Three Men and a Cradle,” entitled "18 ans plus tard," by Coline Serreau (and sold by StudioCanal) has achieved 1.8 million admissions (€10 million). The big surprise for the month of February came from ”La Beuze” by François Desagnat and Thomas Sorriaux, starring Michaël Youn, which continued its excellent performance throughout the month of March, pulling in almost 2 million spectators (€10 million).
What’s showing in April
In the lead up to the Cannes Film Festival and the announcement of the festival Selection, the month of April will be highly charged with French releases, notably the new film by Jean-Paul Rappeneau, “Bon Voyage,” starring Isabelle Adjani, Gérard Depardieu and Virginie Ledoyen (sold by EuropaCorp), with some 600 prints of the film slated for release April 16 (ARP Sélection).
Prior to this, three first films, all boasting promising results, joined the race April 2nd: “Frenchmen“ by Marc Esposito (FTD International), “Leave Your Hands on My Hips“ by Chantal Lauby and “Bienvenue chez les Rozes“ by Francis Palluau (both sold by TF1 International).
April 23 will also see the arrival on the scene of “Corps à corps“ by François Hanss and Arthur-Emmanuel Pierre, starring Emmanuelle Seigner and Philippe Torreton (FTD International) followed on April 30 by Philippe Harel’s latest film, “Tristan,” starring Mathilde Seigner and Nicole Garcia (EuropaCorp), with 150 prints released in theatres in France.
Two films directed by actors are also out to win over French audiences: “Moi César, 10 ans 1/2, 1,39m” (EuropaCorp) is the second film by Richard Berry, while “Il est plus facile pour un chameau…” is Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi’s directing debut, who also plays in the film alongside Jean-Hugues Anglade, Chiara Mastroianni and Denis Podalydès (Gemini Fims). Another first film out April 23 is “Les Corps impatients“ by Xavier Giannoli, a director who has made a name for himself with his short films, including “L’Interview“ which won the Short Film Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Top 5 French films in France between January and March, 2003
For further information: Elizabeth Conter
|Film||Date release||N° of prints||Admissions||Box-office
|Taxi 3||January||969||6 150
841||33 829 625|
|La Beuze||February||408||1 934
481||10 639 645|
773||9 662 251|
|18 ans après||February||630||1 511
327||8 312 298|
|Laughter and Punishment||January||275||1
112 614||6 119 377|