There was a helping of good news for the French box office on Wednesday when local comedy Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table! (Me, Myself And Mum) sold 69,342 tickets to become the strongest debut of the week. It also had the fifth best opening (79,636 admissions including previews) of any French film in 2013. The French box office has had a rough year of it so far: Overall admissions are down 5.5% and French market share has dropped from 42.9% to 32.3%, according to the latest figures from local watchdog the CNC. It looks likely that when January 1st rolls around, there will be only one French film (comedy Les Profs) amongst the top 10 of the past 12 months. That’s a rare occurrence indeed after 2012 closed with three French titles in the top 10 and 2011 boasted not only the No. 1 and No. 2 overall films – The Intouchables and Rien A Déclarer – but also the Oscar-winning The Artist. This year, Intouchables studio Gaumont has Les Garçons, giving it something to crow about after the disappointment of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The Young And Prodigious Mr Spivet. Les Garçons is a virtual one-man show that is written and directed by Guillaume Gallienne in his helming debut. He also plays the two lead roles. It debuted in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight this year where it was a prize winner. Gallienne, who hails from the venerable Comédie Française, adapted the film from his own stage show. In the autobiographical coming-of-age comedy, he plays himself – and his own mother, a woman for whom his love is boundless and who has always treated him as the daughter she never had. (Diane Kruger has a cameo.) Les Garçons was released on 406 screens on Wednesday and faced competition from Captain Phillips (26,163 tickets on 500 screens) and Disney’s Frozen, which sold an impressive 6,009 tickets on just one screen. All will face off with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire when it bows on November 27th.
Fox International Productions has taken distribution rights in Latin America, Germany and the U.S. on action thriller Mea Culpa which Gaumont is selling. The Fred Cavayé-directed pic stars Vincent Lindon, Gilles Lellouche and Nadine Labaki. The story follows a pair of good cops who’ve been longtime partners. Their lives go into a tailspin when one causes a tragic car accident. When his family is put in danger a few years after he exits the police force, he takes matters into his own hands. Cavayé’s previous films include Anything For Her, which was remade by Paul Haggis as The Next Three Days, and Point Blank, which is being developed as an English-language remake by Leverage and Working Title. Gaumont is screening exclusive footage of the pic for buyers here in Cannes. The $20M film bows in France in early 2014.
Gaumont Launches U.S.-Based Division Run By Katie O’Connell, Sets Projects From Bryan Fuller And Michael Hirst
French film studio Gaumont has become the latest foreign production company to establish a U.S. outpost and tap a seasoned U.S. TV executive to run it. Gaumont today announced today the launch of Gaumont International Television, an independent studio based in Los Angeles, designed to produce drama and comedy television programming for the U.S. and international markets. Former NBC head of drama Katie O’Connell will run the company as CEO, with Sony Pictures TV business exec Richard Frankie tapped as COO. GIT also announced its first two projects that will be taken to MIPCOM next month: Hannibal, a one-hour drama series written by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller, and Madame Tussaud, a six-hour miniseries written by The Tudors creator Michael Hirst.