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International statistics

05 March 2010 à 15:53

International box office results for French films: February 2010

This February, From Paris With Love hit the screens in the United States, while Oceans was a smash hit in Japan, and A Prophet has charmed audiences across the Channel.

RankTitleAdms.B.O.No. of PrintsNo. of CountriesTotal Adms.
1From Paris With Love
3,674,12319,369,9383,47653,674,123
2Oceans866,0687,211,69758742,067,883
3The Ghost Writer363,8402,257,9783855363,840
4The Concert343,2001,986,4631613473,036
5The White Ribbon203,7741,186,74516491,044,971
6A Prophet138,729843,3901034401,127
7Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard112,705682,69837141,623,297
8Little Nicholas103,921470,73225341,263,882
9Le Missionnaire88,076545,941177192,073
10Gainsbourg: Je t'aime...Moi non plus60,914408,76230277,997
11Lourdes37,462210,81290357,662
12Chéri36,535221,3671042890,940
13The Pimp35,247221,55222235,247
14Micmacs35,101201,859851148,947
15The Hedgehog27,096143,285552638,824
16Welcome23,490136,040673256,677
17Mr. Nobody19,882123,78034294,363
18Queen to Play14,62589,91441188,909
19Leaving13,65287,688422132,247
20Changing Sides13,13489,817511275,118

From Paris With Love hit US screens on the Super Bowl weekend, which attracted record attendance this year with over 106 million viewers tuned in. It is clearly not an easy task for theatrical releases to compete in this context. In recent years, however, one French film in particular, Taken, took the top spot at the US box office, and finished its run with an impressive $145 million, breaking all the records. On the other hand, raking in $25 million in just under one month, From Paris With Love put in a disappointing performance. The film appears to have suffered from the so-called Transporter 3 effect. This third episode in the Transporter series, released last year, totaled $31 million, while Transporter 2 had earned $42 million two years earlier. This pattern is the reverse of what has been observed in the rest of the world, where each new episode has attracted increasing audiences. In the case of both From Paris With Love and Transporter 3, a change of distributor may offer some explanation. Taken and Transporter 2 were both released by Fox, while From Paris With Love and Transporter were handled by Lionsgate. The marketing clout and financial muscle of an American major cannot be compared to a relative newcomer from Canada. Although strengthened by the success of Fahrenheit 9/11, the Saw series, and more recently Precious, Lionsgate did not manage to match the phenomenal success of Taken. But the competition was fierce: Avatar was still pulling in crowds, and Dear John won over the teenage set. From Paris With Love was vying for audiences with Edge of Darkness, which marked the return of Mel Gibson. The result was a bottleneck of releases, with exhibitors giving priority to big studio productions. From Paris With Love was launched on 2,700 prints, the smallest-scale release that weekend, and 300 prints less than Avatar in its 8th week!

After its prestigious Grand Prize win at Cannes, and bolstered by rave reviews, A Prophet was one of the most eagerly-awaited French films in the UK. Efficient marketing by its distributor Optimum Releasing enabled the film to meet these high expectations. After releasing Coco Before Chanel in 2009 (515,000 admissions), Optimum was aware of the commercial potential of A Prophet and the positive word-of-mouth publicity it would attract. The film was released on an ambitious 70 prints, a very high number for a French-language production (French-language films were released on an average of 16 prints in 2009). Optimum positioned the film as a thriller rather than an arthouse flick, and pulled out all the stops for its promotional campaign. Publicity material designed specifically for British audiences aimed to reach the widest possible audience. The film's trailer was shortened, with a focus placed on the more high impact scenes. The campaign was backed up by a series of TV spots over a two-week period, advertising inserts in the press, online publicity, and posters. These promotional efforts, allied with media acclaim and financial support from the UK Film Council for the film's distribution as well as aid from Unifrance to support the presence of Jacques Audiard in the UK, contributed to the film's all-out success. Its Best Foreign Film win at the BAFTAs should also boost its career in the UK, with the film likely to reach a total of 300,000 admissions.

The most impressive performance by a French film in February was in Japan, where Oceans currently boasts a running total of 1.8 million admissions after one month in theaters and a maximum of 302 prints. This fine score is worthy of an American blockbuster, and can be credited to the fine promotional efforts by its distributor Gaga Corporation. This marks the first time a French film has been offered giant-sized posters in the Tokyo underground, ad placements on major TV channels and daily newspapers, such as Asahi Shimbun, one of the world's most widely circulated newspapers. To top this off, the documentary was dubbed by the star actress Rie Miyazawa. Rie Miyazawa joined in promoting the film, taking part in numerous media interviews. The film also gained significant exposure as the opening film at the Tokyo Film Festival in October 2009. Jacques Perrin was accompanied by Rie Miyazawa as they walked up the "green carpet" at the event.
After a lackluster year in 2009, the Italian market has perked up at the start of 2010, with a string of successful French titles released. These include Welcome (150,000 admissions) The Hedgehog (380,000), The Concert, and The Missionary. The latter two titles have exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. Attracting 330,000 spectators in three weeks, The Concert looks set to hit the 500,000 admissions mark. Credited with close to 90,000 admissions in its opening week, The Missionary should match its French results (210,000 admissions) by the end of its run.

And finally, A Prophet has caused a stir in the USA. In its opening weekend, the film boasted close to 22,000 admissions (on 9 prints). After a rock-solid launch and an excellent per-print attendance average, hopes are high that the film will enjoy a long and successful career.
The Ghost Writer, a French majority production shot in English by Roman Polanski clocked up 156,000 admissions after 10 days on the screens, with 43 prints in circulation. A recent increase in the number of prints released should boost its results even further, following in the footsteps of Polanski's previous hits The Ninth Gate and The Pianist. With a stable track record to date, this film should attract a wide audience in the USA.

Author : Jean-Rémi Ducourtioux

Latest update : 17 April 2012 à 15:53 CEST

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Gaga Corporation

Activities :  Foreign distributor (feature film), Buyer (feature films)

Activities external to film production :  Foreign distributor (feature film)

Recent filmography : It's Only the End of the World, Youth, Ixcanul Volcano, ...

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StudioCanal Limited (ex-Optimum Releasing)

Activities :  Foreign distributor (feature film)

Activities external to film production :  Video/DVD publishing

Recent filmography : The Red Turtle, Cowboys, Dheepan, ...

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