Gross-out laffer is currently Gaul's biggest earning local pic

PARIS — With its €4.5 million ($5.5 million) budget, French gross-out laffer “Porn in the Hood” (Les Kaira), has scored an estimated $5.85 million in three weeks at the local box office, proving that Gallic auds have an appetite for American-style raunchy comedies.

Directed by Franck Gastambide, a dog-trainer turned filmmaker, the politically incorrect pic turns on three losers who’ve grown up together in a housing project just outside Paris, and embark on a desperate mission to become adult movie stars.

Traditional Gallic laffers target family auds, while “Hood” plays off a mix of crude humor and heart, a combination that has yielded box office gold for filmmakers like Judd Apatow, who’s often cited by Gastambide as a reference.

Released July 11 by Gaumont on 260 prints and expanding to 329 prints this week, “Hood” is currently the No. 1 French-language film, holding the B.O.’s fifth slot, behind “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.”

Pic stars Gastambide, Medi Sadoun, Jib Pocthier and Ramzy Bedia.

Gaumont kicked off the media campaign in February, and spent some $1.1 million in P&A, with an emphasis on viral marketing, says Francois Clerc, head of marketing at Gaumont.

“When we boarded ‘Hood,’ our goal was to sell 500,000 tickets total at the box office. We’ve already sold nearly 620,000 tickets in two weeks,” Clerc says.

The pic is produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer at Mandarin, the shingle behind the “OSS 117″ spy laffer franchise.

It’s co-produced, distribbed and repped by Gaumont, which is coming off blockbuster “The Intouchables,” and it’s based on a popular Web series, “Kaira Shopping.”

“When you build a marketing campaign for a film based on a (well-known) Web series, you have a vast existing fanbase, and that’s a huge advantage compared with other projects,” says Clerc, pointing to the 220,000 Facebook friends and 6,000 Twitter followers of the film.

Gallic industryites gave “Hood” a warm welcome: Instead of getting the French equivalent to an R, the pic was surprisingly approved by the French ratings board as “appropriate for all ages” in spite of the sexual content and nudity, and one scene that includes female ejaculation.

Pic’s been sold in many territories, including Germany and South Korea.

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