Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Lucy’ Wow Bows In France

Action fantasy posts best first-day B.O. ever for a Luc Besson-helmed movie

LOCARNO – Scarlett Johansson action fantasy “Lucy” saw the best first-day bow of any Luc Besson film in the director’s native France.

Distribbed by Besson’s own EuropaCorp Distribution, “Lucy” nuked all opposition, taking a 43% market share and storming on Wednesday to 351,o54 ticket sales off 615 copies, per CBO-BoxOffice.com: about $3.0 million in one-day gross box office. Figure does not include prior sneak-peak premieres.

Opening marks the best-ever first day for a Besson-directed movie – and many of the 55-year-old director’s titles have gone boffo in France – and the fourth-best first day of any film this year, bettered only by Fox’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (427,234 admissions), “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and Dany Boon’s “Superchondriac,” distribbed by Pathe (367,153).

After “Superchondriac,” “Lucy” saw the second best first day for any French film this decade.

Explanations for the boffo opening: huge anticipation at Besson’s return to the action format, his first since 1997’s “The Fifth Element”; Johansson’s star power; “Lucy’s” muscular U.S. debut.

“It’s a tremendous opening that confirms the good trend for French movies this year, after the huge success of comedies in the first semester (‘Serial (Bad) Weddings,’ and others),” said Eric Marti at Rentrak.

“Lucy” will have to show long, long legs to equal the top-three grossing pics in France among movies Besson’s directed, which are, per Rentrak: 1987’s “Le gran bleu” (9.2 million admissions); 1997’s “The Fifth Element” (7.7 million); and 2005’s “Arthur and the Invisibles” (6.4 million).

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