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News in brief

10 September 2003 à 12:08

The latest at the French box office: July/August 2003

French films withstand the heat wave.

In a surprising development this summer, amidst scorching temperatures and plummeting movie attendance in France compared to 2002 (down 48% for the week of July 14), French films came up smiling throughout a period traditionally dominated by Hollywood blockbusters. Results for the majority of US films were, nonetheless, well below expectations.

As a consequence, French comedies managed to steal the spotlight, to the benefit of such titles as "7 ans de mariage – Married for 7 years" by Didier Bourdon, produced by Telema and sold by TF1 International. Released by UFD June 25 on 412 prints, the film starring its director Catherine Frot, got off to a flying start (close to 360,000 admissions) before proving its staying power in an excellent run. By early September, the film had clocked up 1,568,895 admissions and is still showing in theaters.

The second summer hit title was "Le Coût de la vie," the latest opus by Philippe Le Guay, boasting a stellar cast including Vincent Lindon, Fabrice Luchini, Claude Rich and Lorant Deutsch. Pathé Distribution pulled out all the stops with an ambitious July 30 opening on 352 prints, taking a risk that has reaped fine rewards. Produced by Les Films des Tournelles and sold by Pathé International, "Le Coût de la vie" jumped straight to number 1 at the box office, ousting "Johnny English" in its second week. Here too, the film proved its staying power, soon to hit the million spectators mark in the second week of September and still featuring in the top 10.

Two films released in June also held their ground against the heat wave, with "Les Triplettes de Belleville – Belleville rendez-vous" by Sylvain Chomet (Celluloid Dreams) posting a running total of 750,000 admissions and "Le Mystère de la chambre jaune – The Mystery of the Yellow Room" by Bruno Podalydès (Wild Bunch) set to reach 1 million spectators early September.
Among the surprise performers of the summer season, we can mention "Nos enfants chéris" by Benoît Cohen, produced by the newcomer Attention Moteur! and sold by FPI. Released July 2 by Pyramide on 198 prints, the film has attracted 350,000 spectators to date.

And the trend shows no signs of waning with the fall season approaching, since several French films released late August registered highly successful openings. This is particularly the case for "Père et fils – Father and Son" by Michel Boujenah, co-produced (along with Ajoz and Little Bear), sold and distributed by Gaumont. Opening on 417 prints, the film pulled in 625,000 spectators in two weeks, and looks sure to hit the million admissions mark.

Two films presented at Cannes and released August 20 and 27 respectively have also done themselves proud. "Les Egarés - Strayed" by André Techiné starring Emmanuelle Béart (Fit Production, sold by Wild Bunch) attracted close to 300,000 spectators in two weeks and Claude Miller's new film, "La Petite Lili - Lili," registered 190,000 admissions in its opening week. Produced by Les Films de la Boissière and sold by FPI, the film holds promise for a fine career, bolstered by a strong cast including Ludivine Sagnier, Robinson Stévenin, Bernard Giraudeau, Nicole Garcia, Jean-Pierre Marielle and Julie Depardieu.

Figures calculated at the beginning of September show that French films have drawn a total of close to 37 million admissions since the start of 2003, for a market share standing at a comfortable 38%.

What's showing in September

September offers a rich harvest of French films on local screens, including some titles showcased at Cannes, such as "Since Otar Left," debut film by Julie Bertuccelli (Celluloid Dreams), winner of the Critics' Week award; "Elle est des nôtres" by Siegrid Alnoy, selected for Critics' Week, as well as the current festival favorite, "Les Invasions barbares - Barbarian Invasions" by Denys Arcand, a Franco-Canadian co-production sold internationally by FPI.

Also released in September are several new films by established directors, such as "Son Frère - His Brother" by Patrice Chéreau starring Bruno Todeschini and Eric Caravaca, Silver Bear winner at Berlin (FPI); "Raja" by Jacques Doillon (Les Films du Losange), selected at Venice, Toronto and New York; "Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran – Mister Ibrahim and the Flowers of Coran" by François Dupeyron starring Omar Sharif (ARP Sélection), presented out of competition at Venice and also selected at Toronto, as well as "Twentynine Palms" by Bruno Dumont (FPI), selected at Venice. Not to mention "Dédales - Labyrinths" by René Manzor starring Sylvie Testud, Lambert Wilson and Frédéric Diefenthal (Vision International), "Saltimbank" by Jean-Claude Biette starring Jeanne Balibar and Jean-Marc Barr (Gemini), and a first film that attracted considerable attention at the Cannes market, "Jeux d’enfants" by Yann Samuell starring Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard (Film Distribution).


Film Released Prints Admissions Box office (EUR)
Taxi 3 January 969 6,150,841 33,829,625
Chouchou* March 402 3,876,572 21,273,928
La Beuze February 408 1,974,554 10,840,301
18 ans après February 630 1,544,900 8,481,501
French Men April 400 1,530,710 8,406,598
7 ans de mariage June 412 1,522,910 8,360,776
Fanfan La Tulipe May 730 1,207,740 6,630,493
Laughter and Punishment January 275 1,137,390 6,244,271
The Flower of Evil February 338 1,069,498 5,871,544
I, Cesar April 330 1,030,215 5,655,880

Elizabeth Conter

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Latest update : 01 October 2015 à 12:08 CEST