The 3D animated feature, which is based on Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s cult Belgian comicbooks, has grossed 6.2 million Euros ($7.4 million) from 935 000 admissions sold during its sneak premieres and first week in theaters.
Released on 696 screens by SND on Nov. 26, Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier’s $46 million film surpassed the openings of such American blockbusters as “Frozen” and “Tangled.” It scored the fifth best bow for a French film this year, following the comedies “Les trois frères, le retour,” “Serial (Bad) Weddings” with Christian Clavier, Dany Boon’s “Supercondriaque”and Luc Besson’s actioner “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson.
This early performance is a great feast in itself considering many French producers have given up on producing toons with budgets exceeding 15 million Euros ($18.5 million) due to the volatility of the French distribution market, the increasing difficulty in raising the financing in Gaul and the tough competition from U.S. tentpoles.
The last Gallic toon – produced and created in France — to reach similar heights at the B.O. on its first week than “Arthur” is Luc Besson’s $77 million “Arthur and The Revenge of Maltazard,” which was released on 925 prints and sold 1.2 million admissions.
“The Asterix franchise is evergreen and multi-generation like ‘Tintin:’ It’s still very strong more than 50 years later and not only in France. The latest comicbook volume, ‘Asterix And the Picts’ is a big hit,” said Charlotte Boucon, head of international sales at SND.
Boucon also pointed out the movie owes its success to the quality and style of the animation that was mainly brought by the co-director Louis Clichy – who was trained at Pixar and worked on “Up” and “Wall-E” — and French studio Mikros.
Lionel Uzan’s team at SND has sold the toonpic nearly worldwide. Recent deals were closed for Italy (Koch Media), Israel (Filmhouse), Vietnam (Skyline) and Australia/New Zealand (Madman). SND is now in talks with U.K. and Spanish distributors.
“Asterix” bowed simultaneously on Nov. 26 across Belgium (eOne Benelux) and Switzerland (Pathé), where it achieved a successful start.
The toonpic will continue its international roll-out throughout the month with Russia (Paradise), The Baltics (Top Film), The Netherlands (eOne Benelux), Turkey (Medyavizyon) or Greece (Village) coming up in the following weeks. Universum will release “Asterix” in German-speaking Europe starting in Feb. 27.
“Asterix” was produced by Philippe Bony and Thomas Valentin for M6 Studio.