You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Asterix’ makers in a fix over sequel

First two pics were Gaul's biggest B.O. hits in 2001, 2002

This article was corrected on June 4, 2003.

PARIS — A wrangle between rights holders of the “Asterix and Obelix” comicbooks and Claude Berri’s Renn Prods. threatens to put the kibosh on tentpole pic “Asterix 3: Asterix in Spain,” jeopardizing the multimillion-dollar franchise.

Pathe and Renn have talked up the production even though Albert Uderzo, Anne Goscinny and publisher Editions Albert Rene, who hold the rights to “Asterix,” created by Uderzo and Rene Goscinny, nixed it in February.

“The information that Pathe is preparing a third film is totally false,” the rights holders said. “A reading of the final script has confirmed for the rights holders that their position is the right one.”

Big loss looms

The loss of the franchise is a huge one for Renn and Pathe.

Pathe co-financed Berri’s $40 million “Asterix and Obelix vs. Cesar” and $45 million “Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra,” which became Gaul’s biggest B.O. hits in 2001 and 2002, respectively.

First pic racked up 25 million admissions worldwide, including 9.5 million in Asterix’s native Gaul, while “Cleopatra” drew 14.5 million in local ticket sales.

The third pic was announced in November, with helmer Gerard Jugnot to follow helmers Alain Chabat (who directed “Cleopatra”) and Claude Zidi (who helmed the first live-action adaptation).

In Cannes, Jacques-Eric Strauss, who handles international sales of Berri’s films, said that Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu would reprise their starring roles after speculation that Clavier wouldn’t return for the third.

Complicating matters, French web M6 announced in Cannes that the first pic from its new production arm, M6 Studios, would be “Asterix and the Vikings,” a 22 million euros ($25.7 million) animated feature.

The M6 production brings together Danish director Stefan Fjeldmark, Belgian scriptwriter Jean-Luc Goossens and Belgian actor Benoit Poelvoorde.

The rights holders have approved the pic — a poke in the eye for Berri.

Pathe claims it is in negotiations with the rights holders for “Asterix in Spain,” which the rights holders deny.

“There are no negotiations going on with Pathe,” a spokesman for Editions Albert Rene told Daily Variety. “If they come to us with a good proposal, we’ll talk. But now, there is nothing.”

Renn has now changed its optimistic tune toward the productions. “For now, we aren’t doing it,” said a spokesman for Renn, without elaborating.

More Film

  • Fig Tree review

    Palm Springs Reviews: 'Fig Tree'

    It’s a question integral to much of the current international immigration debate: When war breaks out, who gets to flee and who’s left with nowhere to run? As a child, writer-director Aalam-Warqe Davidian was among a majority of Ethiopian Jews who emigrated to Israel. In her loosely autobiographical feature debut, a teenager facing similar circumstances [...]

  • Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges, who stars in

    Film News Roundup: Jeff Bridges Wins American Society of Cinematographers Honor

    In today’s film news roundup, Jeff Bridges is honored by cinematographers, the “Arctic” filmmakers get a first-look deal and releases are set for “Vault,” the Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron comedy and “What Lies Ahead.” BRIDGES HONORED The American Society of Cinematographers has selected Jeff Bridges as the recipient of the organizations’ 2019 Board of Governors Award. [...]

  • Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette'

    Cate Blanchett's 'Where'd You Go, Bernadette' Moved Back to August

    Annapurna Pictures has moved its Richard Linklater literary adaptation “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” starring Cate Blanchett back five months from March 22 to an Aug. 9 release. A rep for Annapurna explained that August has served well as a launching pad for release of female-skewing films such as “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Florence Foster Jenkins” and [...]

  • Kumail Nanjiani Issa Rae

    Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Star in 'Lovebirds' Romantic Comedy

    “The Big Sick” star Kumail Nanjiani and “Insecure” star Issa Rae will topline Paramount’s romantic comedy “The Lovebirds.” The project will reunite Nanjiani with “The Big Sick” helmer Michael Showalter, who’s on board to direct from a script by Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall, and Martin Gero. The project goes into production at the end of [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • 'The Pledge' Review

    Film Review: 'Pledge'

    “Privilege comes with sacrifice” says one character to another in “Pledge” — exactly the kind of noble sentiment authority figures always voice to hush the protests of those about to be sacrificed. This third feature for director Daniel Robbins is no delicate flower of cinematic art, but a lean and mean shocker that tells its [...]

  • John Lithgow

    John Lithgow-Blythe Danner's 'Tomorrow Man' Bought Ahead of Sundance Premiere

    In one of the first deals for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, Bleecker Street has acquired North American rights to the John Lithgow-Blythe Danner romance “The Tomorrow Man.” The movie will hold its world premiere at the fest, which opens on Jan. 24 in Park City, Utah. The distributor is planning a May 17 release. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content