Studiocanal, Pan-Europeenne, Jean-Pierre Ameris Re-Team for French comedy ‘Famille a Louer’

Romcom a follow-up to hit ‘Romantics Anonymous’

PARIS — As classic Gallic comedies drive France’s box office, European film-TV group Studiocanal is reteaming with director Jean-Pierre Ameris, production house Pan-Europeenne and star Benoit Poelvoorde on French-language romcom “Famille a louer.”

Distributing in France, Studiocanal will finance, co-produce and handle international sales. Pan-Europeenne lead produces.

In a Gallic example of one of Studiocanal’s bedrock philosophies – creating and growing talent relationships with key producers and directors in the U.S., Europe and beyond – the European powerhouse partnered with Ameris and Pan-Europeenne, run by Philippe Godeau and Nathalie Gastaldo Godeau, on 2011’s “Romantics Anonymous,” starring Poelvoorde as a chronically but comically shy chocolate factory owner, which grossed €7.4 million ($10.1 million) in France.

In “Famille a louer” (literally, “Family For Rent”), which Ameris co-wrote with Murielle Magellan, Poelvoorde plays another oddball yearning for love: Paul-Andre, who is rich but timid, open to love but alone.

He decides that the solution is to get a family fast. Enter Violette, an energetic but debt-strapped forty-something in danger of losing her house and custody of her two children. Paul-Andre offers to pay off her debts if she rents out her family.

Virginie Efira, who broke through playing a feisty femme love interest in Nicolas Cuche’s “Second Chance” stars as Violette. Francois Morel (“War of the Buttons”) co-stars.

Backed by Canal Plus and France 3 Cinema, the film arm of a pubcaster France Televisions channel, “Famille” will go into production June 10, shooting in Paris, Studiocanal announced Wednesday.

“Famille’s” announcement comes as a string of French comic hits, sometimes reprising comedians or properties whose popularity dates back decades, has galvanized France’s box office.

Sold abroad by TF1, and released in France by UGC, “Serial (Bad) Weddings,” with Christian Clavier, a star since 1978’s “Les Bronzes,” has grossed €51.8 million ($70.5 million); “The Three Brothers Are Back,” a sequel to a 1995 blockbuster, has a trawl of $19.9 million. “Superchondriac,” the latest film from Danny Boon, a far newer comedy star, punched $45.8 million in France this year.

In all, five of the top 10 movies in France this year are French comedies. Through April 30, France’stheatrical market was 17% up year-on-year at 75.67 million admissions – roughly $660 million in gross box office.

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