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News in brief

06 July 2004 à 12:05

The latest at the French box office: June 2004

Double heroes: reaping the benefits of the annual Cinema Festival, French films achieved fine results in the month of June, with standout performers including “Double Zéro,” an action film starring the comedy duo Eric and Ramzy.

Despite almost unfair competition dominated by “Harry Potter 3” and “Shrek 2,” French films more than rose to the occasion at the 20th Cinema Festival, which attracted 4.3 million spectators all up this year, matching the record attendance figures of 1999.

Launched on 595 prints by Warner one week prior to the Festival, “Double Zéro,” the new action film by Gérard Pirès (“Taxi 1,” “Riders”), ranked among the top 3 films for two weeks running. Made to measure for the comedy duo Eric and Ramzy, and produced by Thomas Langmann (La Petite Reine), “Double Zéro” has come close to crossing the 700,000 admissions mark per week since its release, boasting 1,350,000 admissions two weeks after its launch. And even if we cannot accurately predict the film’s future from the results for these two rather out of the ordinary weeks, we can already see that Eric and Ramzy, co-starring here with Edouard Baer, have made a successful comeback to the big screen three years after the surprise hit “Don’t Die Too Hard” (2 million admissions). A heartening score for Raphaël Berdugo (Roissy Films) and Jacques-Eric Strauss, sales agents for this film, which was one of the best sellers at theCannes Film Festival.

Following the trail blazed by “Double Zero” is another duo, this time of the feminine variety, which has also got off to a flying start. Karin Viard and Agnès Jaoui share top billing in “Le Rôle de sa vie” by François Favrat, which has clocked up close to 500,000 admissions in two weeks. Launched June 16 on 258 prints by Mars Distribution, this debut film produced by newcomers Les Films du Kiosque (François Kraus and Denis Pineau-Valenciennes), is sold by TF1 International.

While these two films opted for a release the week prior to the Cinema Festival, four other French films were positioned to chime in with this famous last weekend of June. And for each of these, in their own category, the timing hit the mark.

“Qui perd gagne!” by Laurent Bénégui, starring Thierry Lhermitte and Elsa Zylberstein has also showed a promising start to its run. Produced by Magouric and Gaumont, (who are also handling international sales), “Qui perd gagne!” has charmed 276,000 moviegoers, on a moderate release of 236 prints. The film thus boasts the second highest per-print average, with 1,172 spectators registered, just behind “Shrek 2”!

“Saint-Ange” has also achieved a good per-print average – the debut film in the fantasy genre by Pascal Laugier stars Virginie Ledoyen and Lou Doillon. Produced by Richard Grandpierre (Eskwad) and released by ARP Sélection on 180 copies, it attracted 186,000 spectators in its opening week, with an average of 1,038 admissions per print.

Another debut film, this time in the comedy vein, “Au secours j’ai 30 ans” by Marie-Anne Chazel, has pulled in 160,000 spectators on 199 prints. Produced by Ouille Productions, the film is distributed and sold by Rezo Films.

The most ambitious French release of the week was “Les Fils du vent,” (“The Great Challenge”) the latest adventures of Yamakasi, produced this time around by Yves Marmion (UGC YM). With 399 copies in circulation, the film sold by UGC International tallied 325,000 admissions and ranked in 4th position in its opening week, in spite of competition from “Harry Potter” and “Shrek,” which are clearly targeting the same audiences.

And then there is the ever-successful “Les Choristes,” which continues to win the hearts of audiences throughout France. Holding strong in the top 10 after 14 weeks on the screens, this debut film by Christophe Barratier, starring Gérard Jugnot, doubled its admissions score since the previous week, with the same number of prints in circulation (563). This new burst of energy has allowed the film (sold by Pathé International) to cross the 6.5 million spectators barrier in France and to thus continue jostling shoulder to shoulder with “Harry Potter.”

To these must be added the excellent score of “Mariages!,” the second film by Valérie Guignabodet, which has just crossed the 2 million admissions threshold in June, to the great pleasure of its producer Philippe Godeau (Pan-Européenne), its sales agents StudioCanal and cast, led by Mathilde Seigner and Jean Dujardin.

These results all helped to bring the first 6 months of 2004 to a successful close, with the period showing overall admissions rising to around 100 million spectators – a record high not matched in 20 years! Accounting for 35 million admissions and taking 39% of the market, French films also registered a fine first 6 months of the year.

Let us hope that the second half of 2004 will confirm the apparent trend. In any case, the foundations are laid: for a start, in the two summer months several French films look set maintain the pace: “L’Américain,” the latest comedy by Patrick Timsit featuring Thierry Lhermitte, Lorànt Deutsch and Emilie Dequenne (July 7), “Atomik Circus - Le Retour de James Bataille” (“The Return of James Battle”), debut film by the Poiraud brothers starring Vanessa Paradis, Benoît Poelvoorde and Jean-Pierre Marielle (July 21), “San Antonio” by Frédéric Auburtin starring Gérard Lanvin and Gérard Depardieu (July 21), “Cause toujours!” by Jeanne Labrune starring Victoria Abril, Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Sylvie Testud (July 28), “Je suis un assassin” by Thomas Vincent starring François Cluzet, Karin Viard and Bernard Giraudeau (August 11), “Mon père est un ingénieur” by Robert Guédiguian starring Ariane Ascaride and Jean-Pierre Darroussin (August 18), the Cannes prize-winner “Exils” by Tony Gatlif (August 25) as well as the new film by Yvan Attal, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Ils se marièrent et eurent beaucoup d’enfants” (August 25). Not to mention numerous other auteur films, perhaps more moderate performers, but which nevertheless could offer up some fine surprises for French films in this period…


FilmReleasedPrints*Adms. Box office (€ million)
Les Choristes *



6 567 037





3 559 512


Two Brothers



3 185 757


Les 11 Commandements



2 937 370


The Crimson Rivers 2



2 087 544





1 944 970


RRRrrr !



1 703 125


Malabar Princess



1 411 759


Double zéro **



1 350 630


Immortel (ad vitam)



980 838


*Number of prints at release date. **Film still showing at the end of June, 2004.

Elizabeth Conter

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Latest update : 01 October 2015 à 12:05 CEST