Dany Boon’s ‘Superchondriac’ Scores Boffo French Opening For Pathe

Heavweight French comedies once more score big in France

Supercondriaque French box Office

PARIS– Following a roll of underwhelming film releases, Pathe could soon regain its mojo with Dany Boon’s latest comedy “Superchondriac,” which has gotten off a whammo start at the French B.O., racking up around a first-day €2.3 million ($3.2 million) on Feb. 26, per a Rentrak estimate.

Released on 854 screens by Pathe, the €22 million movie ($30 million) budgeted movie, which Boon helmed and toplines, had managed to lure half-a-million people in French theaters by late Thursday afternoon, proving the best opening for a French movie since June 2012’s “Would I Lie To You 3.”

“Superchondriac’s” bow was 25% up on Boon’s third film as a director, 2012’s “Nothing To Declare,” which opened on 200 screens more and went on to gross $74.5 million in France.

The comedy is tracking for a first-five day 1.5 million in tix sales,”  said Eric Marti, Rentrak general manager, France. That would be about $13 million in box office gross.

“’Superchondriac’ is a highly-anticipated movie, a big French comedy, and it has made a fantastic start. Everything is possible but this is the basis for a big huge success above five million or six million in tix sales,” Marti added. (Five million admissions is roughly $44 million in B.O.)

As with Boon’s previous comedy blockbusters, “Welcome To The Sticks” (French B.O.: $193 million) and “Nothing To Declare” (French B.O.: $74.5 million), “Superchondriac,” which reunites the helmer/thesp with co-star Kad Merad, was harshly reviewed by local critics.

However, it won’t prevent the film from becoming a popular success in France. Indeed, while 2013 was marked by the lack of big French B.O. hit as no movie sold over four million tickets, this year could boast at least two big box office winners: “Superchondriac” and Gaumont’s “Samba,” Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s follow-up to “Intouchables” — if it opens in 2014.

If the movie proves profitable, it will salvage Boon’s reputation as a bankable star. Since directing and starring in “Nothing To Declare,” the L.A.-based French actor toplined in a few pricey comedies (such as “Un Plan Parfait” and “Eyjafjallajokull”) that either bombed or performed poorly in Gaul.

Meanwhile, Boon is now reportedly developing his Hollywood debut, “The Ambassadors,” an ensemble road-trip comedy written by Tripper Clancy and produced by Fox’s Invention Films.

Dany Boon’s fourth film follows on two other comedies, “Les Trois freres: Le retour,” which has cumed a first-two-week $14.8 million and “Le crocodile de Botswanga,” with a first full week $5.2 million.

“There’s a new love-affair between the French audience and its big regular comedies. In 2013, the heavyweights didn’t do well, apart from ‘Les Profs.’ Audiences went for alternative comedies like “Nine Month Stretch” and ‘Me Myself and Mum,’” said Marti.