A British secret agent, an unlikely pair of friends and a kidnapped ex-CIA operative helped boost admissions for European Union films across Europe by 12% in 2012. Despite a drop in overall attendance, market share for Euro films jumped to 33.6%, the highest level of the 2000s so far. The European Audiovisual Observatory said today that Skyfall, a majority UK co-production, was the biggest draw with 44.38M admissions across the Union. It was followed by two French films: The Intouchables at 24.07M and Taken 2 at 10.43M. Receipts hit a record high of 6.47B euros ($8.47B) reflecting hikes in ticket prices and the increase in 3D movies. Admissions for U.S. films were up slightly to 62.8% but were still far off the 68.4% achieved in 2010. The top three Hollywood performers were Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Dark Knight Rises and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Shadyac, once a prolific director of blockbuster comedies before a near-death experience sent him on a life-changing journey chronicled in his feature documentary I Am, is returning to laffer mode. Shadyac is in talks with The Weinstein Company to helm its remake of the Olivier Nakache/Eric Toledano French sensation The Intouchables.
TWC has a script by Paul Feig, and Colin Firth has been circling to star, though casting is not locked. The picture seems primed for remake — it grossed $416 million overseas, and only $10 million domestic. That is a decent number for a foreign film but leaves a lot of room for an American audience to discover the story. TWC released it here and got remake rights as part of the bargain. Feig was once going to make it his directorial follow-up to Bridesmaids but he left the project after writing the screenplay about an aristocrat who, after being paralyzed in a hang-gliding accident, hires a young man from the projects to be his caretaker. TWC’s Dylan Sellers has been shepherding the redo.
While the French film industry has recently been polarized at home – spurred on by a Le Monde editorial penned by Wild Bunch co-founder and sales chief Vincent Maraval – there was good news from abroad this morning. Foreign admissions hit a record high in 2012 with French films selling 140M tickets, an 88% uptick over 2011, for 875M euros ($1.17B) in receipts. Export body Unifrance says today that the figures for 2012 are doped by the extraordinary performance of a handful of films including Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s The Intouchables, Olivier Megaton’s Taken 2 and Oscar-winner The Artist, which rep 65% of overseas sales. Intouchables, which was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar but failed to make the final nominations, is the most successful French-language film ever internationally at 29.6M tickets sold while the Luc Besson-produced Taken 2 is the most successful French film ever outside the home territory with over 46M admissions. Other films hitting high marks abroad include Michael Haneke’s multiple Oscar nominee Amour, comedy Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia, Bibo Bergeron’s animated A Monster In Paris, Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone and Pathé’s What’s In A Name. Western Europe consumed French films in record numbers and Asia had the strongest progression. North American audiences bought 32M tickets to French movies for a 45% jump on 2011.
Unifrance this week has been hosting the annual Rendez-Vous with French Cinema which gives international buyers a look at upcoming French films on the slates of local sales companies. Next week, it will be back to business and to the debate over how French films are financed.
When the Oscars‘ Foreign Language shortlist was unveiled before Christmas, it contained few surprises. Today’s final selection of the five nominees has a bit more shock value — for France, especially. Expectations were high that The Weinstein Company’s feel-good box office smash The Intouchables would land an Oscar slot. But the Academy was evidently not in a laughing mood.
Many watchers even had Intouchables facing off with Austria’s perceived frontrunner Amour (Sony Pictures Classics) on February 24. Michael Haneke’s heartrending love story about an aging couple found a lot of love today with not only a Foreign Language nomination but also nods for lead actress Emmanuelle Riva – at 85 the oldest woman ever nominated – Haneke’s directing, his original screenplay and Best Picture. This week, Amour was nominated for four BAFTAS and last weekend, it won the National Society of Film Critics’ top honor. It had previously won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s best picture nod and of course began its career in Cannes where Haneke won his second Palme d’Or. But could so much love from the Academy today end up cancelling Amour out here? As producer Margaret Menegoz told me before the nominations, “We were almost certain for (2009 nominee) White Ribbon. You never know.”
While Haneke’s film is Austrian, it is in French and while that may have confused things, the lack of a French nominee today holds with an interesting statistic: Since 2000, France has had a film nominated in the category for two years in a row, then been absent for two years. If the trend holds, next year should produce a nominee. But a winner would be more elusive as one French exec tells me today, “The real issue is the way movies are selected to represent the country. It’s unbelievable that producing 200 movies a year France has not been able to win a single [Foreign Language Oscar] in 20 years.”
Last weekend, I profiled 15 films that were generating the most buzz ahead of the compilation of the Academy’s shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category. All nine of the films shortlisted by the Academy today appeared on that list, so while not entirely predictable, the Phase I and Executive Committee’s choices were also not a complete surprise. There’s good news for Cristian Mungiu, the Romanian director whose exclusion from the shortlist in 2008 for his lauded 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days caused widespread consternation. He’s here with Beyond The Hills, the film that took a double best actress prize in Cannes as well as the screenplay honor. The Weinstein Company is facing off against itself, with Norway’s seafaring adventure Kon-Tiki and France’s box office blockbuster The Intouchables advancing to the next round. Sony Pictues Classics has the same issue with Chile’s Pinochet-era No and Michael Haneke’s love story Amour from Austria. Haneke is the only director among the bunch to be nominated in the category (with 2009’s White Ribbon).
Focus World has Baltasar Kormakur’s The Deep, based on the true story of the sole survivor of a 1984 fishing boat accident. Also based on a true story, A Royal Affair (Magnolia Pictures) chronicles the controversial reign of Denmark’s King Christian VII. That film started its career in Berlin as did Ursula Meier’s Sister, the Swiss entry about family and belonging that Adopt Films released in the U.S. Finally, Canada’s War Witch about a young girl in wartorn sub-Saharan Africa, was also a Berlin debut. Tribeca Film has it in the U.S.
The list will be shortened again to five nominees for the official Oscar nominations January 10. Here’s the Academy’s official release this morning:
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
One Saturday morning in early December, The Weinstein Company chief operating officer David Glasser was facing a very busy day: A noon screening of TWC’s critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook, followed by a 3 p.m. screening of the Christmas Day release Django Unchained, then an evening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ fourth annual Governors Awards. Until the February 24 Oscar ceremony, “Saturdays and Sundays are not my own,” the executive jokes.
But in between big events involving big movies, it somehow seemed fitting that Glasser would carve out a little chunk of time to talk about a small but equally important film executive-produced by The Weinstein Co.: The Intouchables.
This $2 million French film, based on the true story about the bond between a wealthy quadriplegic (played by François Cluzet) and the fun-loving younger man from a housing project (Omar Sy) he hires to take care of him, has earned more than $400 million at the boxoffice worldwide and is the official French entry for the foreign-language film Oscar. (The Academy will reveal its shortlist of foreign-language films tomorrow morning.)
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Omar Sy, the French actor, comedian, writer, producer and television personality who drew raves starring in The Intouchables. That film, an international box office phenomenon, has become the highest-grossing non-English-language film since The Passion Of The Christ, grossing more than $414 million worldwide. It was released domestically last May by The Weinstein Company.
Weinstein’s French Import ‘The Intouchables’ Is First Official 2012 Academy Screener Mailed To Members
EXCLUSIVE: Every Oscar season the race is on to see who can put out the first DVD screener sent to Academy members. Well, the race is over for 2012: The Weinstein Company is mailing screeners today of their hit French import The Intouchables to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association got one over the weekend. The Intouchables, which has grossed more than $360 million worldwide, is the official French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (screenings of the record 71 films in that contest begin Friday night at the Academy). It is the second-highest-grossing non-English-language film of all time after The Passion Of The Christ.
Last year, Summit was first out of the gate in getting Academy members a screener of A Better Life. The strategy paid off, resulting in a surprise Best Actor SAG and Oscar nomination for star Demian Bichir. Putting those screeners in Oscar voters’ hands early certainly didn’t hurt his chances. Millennium mailed a commercial DVD of Bernie to press a couple of weeks ago with Oscar aspirations attached, but this is the first official manufactured screener for Oscar voters (the Academy has strict rules about packaging and does not allow commercial DVDs to be sent to members).
French feel-good juggernaut The Intouchables has been chosen to rep the country in the foreign-language Academy Awards race. Directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, the film about an unlikely friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic and a man from the other side of the tracks was released by Gaumont in France in November 2011 and ultimately sold nearly 20M tickets to become the third-highest grosser ever in the territory and second-biggest French film of all time. Outside France, it recently became the French-language film with the most global admissions ever. The Weinstein Company acquired Intouchables (and its English-language remake rights) and released it in the U.S. in May; its domestic cume is just under $12M.
In 2001, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s charmer Amélie began to break records inside France and out. In November that year, Miramax released it in the U.S. and it ultimately became the French-language film with the most admissions ever outside its home country. With 23.1M admissions worldwide, Amélie held its perch until this weekend, when another movie handled Stateside by Harvey Weinstein leapfrogged over it. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s Intouchables, the story of an unlikely friendship between a millionaire quadriplegic and a young man from the other side of the tracks, has now clocked 23.2M entries globally, French export body Unifrance confirms to Deadline. That figure surpasses the nearly 20M tickets Intouchables sold for studio Gaumont during its theatrical run in France. It’s broken records in other territories and still more people will see it outside France in the coming weeks when it opens in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia. In its 16th week in U.S. release, Intouchables has taken $11,570,960 at the box office. Amélie eventually earned upwards of $33M in the U.S.
After two weeks of unimpressive specialty openers, Focus Features‘ Moonrise Kingdom has taken the specialty box office by storm, shattering records over Memorial weekend. Directed by Wes Anderson, the film opened the Cannes Film Festival and then hit theaters in the States, setting a new record for a live-action feature in a regular theatrical run, surpassing Dreamgirls‘ stunning $126K per theater average debut in three theaters back in 2006. Moonrise Kingdom averaged a whopping $130,752 at four locations and an overall four-day $669K gross. Focus, which holds worldwide rights, will take the movie to additional cities in the U.S. each weekend through June, expanding Moonrise Kingdom to several hundred screens. “Moonrise is a story of love’s improbable triumph, and for Wes Anderson and his team a labor of love from start to finish,” said Focus CEO James Schamus. “How wonderful it is to congratulate him, on behalf of everyone at Focus, for this remarkable, record-breaking opening.”
Also opening with gusto, The Weinstein Company‘s The Intouchables, which averaged over $34K in four theaters. This should bode well for the French-produced film. It has had a spectacular run overseas, breaking records in France and grossing well over $300 million to date.
Among other Memorial Day weekend specialty debuts, Samuel Goldwyn’s Cowgirls n’ Angels screened in 50 theaters, averaging a disappointing $1,314, while Adopt Films launched Mighty Fine at 30 locations, averaging a similarly tepid $1,233. A bit stronger were Fisher Klingenstein’s OC87 which bowed at one location, grossing $7,500, while Strand Releasing’s Oslo, August 31st averaged $5,750 from a pair of theaters.
Specialty Box Office: ‘Cowgirls N’ Angels,’ ‘The Intouchables,’ ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ ‘Oslo, August 31st’
This weekend’s specialty openers in the U.S. include a pair of Cannes Film Festival offerings. Just over a week since its world premiere as the fest’s opening-night film, Wes Anderson’s romantic-comedy Moonrise Kingdom will bow Stateside. The film has been an initial success since opening in theaters in France on the heels of its premiere there. Cannes 2011 title Oslo, August 31st also joins the specialty fray, hoping to repeat its success overseas in the U.S., as is The Weinstein Company‘s The Intouchables. That film has become one of the largest box office draws in French history and has taken big sums overall abroad. Also this weekend, Samuel Goldwyn Films will forgo the traditional L.A. and New York approach for its theatrical opening of Cowgirls N’ Angels, opting for playdates in the Midwest and South.
‘Intouchables’ Screenings To Be Preceded By Paul McCartney-Directed Short With Johnny Depp And Natalie Portman
The Weinstein Company will show Paul McCartney’s directorial debut short film My Valentine on prints of The Intouchables, the runaway hit French film that makes its U.S. debut Friday. The three-minute short, based on an idea by the director’s daughter Stella, stars Johnny Depp and Natalie Portman. They translate the …
Wildly successful in France, The Intouchables is set to open in the U.S. on May 25, courtesy of The Weinstein Co. The film is based on a true story of a man who was left a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident, which transformed him from an aristocratic business and social …
New York, NY – March 1, 2012 – During a recent television appearance on France 3’s National French Journal, founder and former president of France’s National Front party Jean-Marie Le Pen, as no surprise to the French who’ve witnessed his past tirades, disgraces France by making this analogy comparing the