Feature nabs total of $163 million

“Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” (“Welcome to the Sticks”) has broken a 42-year box office record to become the most successful French film on home turf.

Helmed by and starring comic Dany Boon and co-starring Kad Merad, the laffer topped 17.5 million admissions in Gaul this week, netting distrib Pathe around $163 million after six frames. That breaks the admissions record set by Gerard Oury’s wartime comedy “La grande vadrouille” in 1966.

“Ch’tis” pokes gentle fun at Gallic attitudes toward the northeastern-most corner of the country, notorious for incessant rain, near-incomprehensible slang and basic cuisine by national standards.

Merad’s character, a senior post office manager, suffers a fate worse than death in being exiled to “le nord” from sun-kissed southern France for work infractions.

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