Italians welcome ‘Sticks’ remake

'Benvenuti al Sud' to get French release

Gallic hit “Welcome to the Sticks” has gone south, with an Italian remake quickly becoming a local hit.

Two years after the French original became a European B.O. phenom, “Benvenuti al sud” has bowed at No. 1 in Italy prompting Pathe to slot it for a Nov. 24 release in France.

Produced by Medusa in collaboration with Cattleya, “Benvenuti,” which features a cameo by “Sticks” helmer-star Dany Boon, pulled in $5.2 million from 532 screens, for a boffo $9,766 per-screen average. It ousted “Inception,” in its sophomore frame in Italy, from the top slot.

Italo helmer Luca Miniero and scribe Massimo Gaudioso (“Gomorrah”) have reversed the geographic connotations of the original, about a post office manager in the sophisticated south of France banished to a rainy town in the north. In the Italian redo, the character from northern Italy gets sent south.

Warner Bros. and Overbrook Entertainment acquired English-language remake rights to “Sticks” in 2008.

Pathe has sold “Benvenuti” to a slew of territories, including Germany (Constantin), Spain (Acontracorriente) and Russia (Novydisc).

“Sticks” scored more than $190 million in France, $9.1 million in Belgium, $4.7 million in Spain and $4 million in Italy.

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