Even though we don’t see much evidence of it here in Ireland, it has been a successful summer for French cinema abroad so far
The two main standard-bearers this year are “Lucy” by Luc Besson and “Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?” (What in the name of God have I done?).
The former is a result of veteran producer/director Luc Besson’s stable of English-language films using big American stars. Previous successes have included “Taken” and “The Fifth Element”. The action film stars Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman and went to the top of the American box-office on its release with over $44 million in receipts during its first week. This figure climbed up to $58 million in six days and to $79.6 million in its first week. It was an impressive performance, even if another big-budget film involving things exploding surpassed it afterwards (Guardians of the Galaxy, which took in $94 million on it first weekend). “Lucy” remains the second most successful French film in the USA after “Taken”.
The German public, meanwhile, seems to have developed a taste for the more recognisable form of French film. Philippe de Chauveron’s comedy “Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?”, starring Christian Clavier had 155,000 viewers on its first weekend; a figure that rose to 300,000 bums on seats after a week in German cinemas, according to UniFrance – the French cinematic industry’s marketing organisation. By comparison, the film “Intouchables” – the most successful film ever in Germany – attracted an audience of 330,000 in its first week in the same country. The film has also been released in Belgium (over 220,000 punters), Switzerland (170,000) and Greece (54,000) and has been seen by 860,000 people outside of France so far.