Is Working Title becoming a European brand? Released by Studiocanal on Wednesday, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” notched up a first-day 137,000 admissions, about Euros 890,500 ($1.0 million) including previews, topping French box office charts.
A Universal Pictures, Studiocanal and Miramax presentation of a Working Title Films production, “Bridget Jones’s Baby” nationwide box office in France shades “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” another opener on Wednesday, though Tim Burton’s family-targeting fantasy adventure can expect to perform better over this upcoming weekend.
Directed by Sharon Maguire, and starring Renee Zellweger after a six-year break from movies, “Bridget Jones’ Baby” took the co-ordinated campaign for international, where Universal Pictures Intl. (UPI) released the romantic comedy, as it has in near all international territories.
When it came to the campaign for France, Studiocanal organised 200 ladies night screenings at the end of September which attracted 40,000, said Francois Clerc, Studiocanal head of French theatrical distribution.
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Another strategy was “to try to get across to journalists how Working Title has become a very famous brand in the field of romantic comedies. It is one of the best production companies in that field. A Working Title romantic comedy will be fantastically well-crafted,” said Clerc, citing the success in France of “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Love Actually,” and the “Bridget Jones” trilogy.
France is not a strong market for romantic comedies. But “people read what happens in other territories, particularly film avids. “We used it to build our marketing campaign,” Clerc said.
So, before releasing “Bridget Jones” on Wednesday, Studiocanal fired off a release to the French press reminding it of just how well the film has done in the U.K., where it set records on Sept. 16 for the biggest romantic comedy opening ever in the U.K. and Ireland, grossing $11.3 million off 641 screens over its first weekend.
Founded in 1985, and run by Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan since 1992, Working Title has produced “Fargo,” “Billy Elliot,” “Everest” and “The Tudors” TV series. But it has built a mass market out of portraits of love triumphing against all odds over English romantic torpor. It’s completely appropriate that a film in the Working Title grand romcom tradition – and of titles which are purposefully bathetic (“Love, Actually”) stolidly neutral (“Four Weddings….,” “Notting Hill”) or just plain clunky, (“Bridget Jones’s…”) – should have nursed Working Title over the $1 billion benchmark at the U.K. box office.
In France, Studiocanal is targeting 2 million admissions – about $14.5 million – which would make “Bridget Jones’s Baby” most probably Studiocanal’s biggest release in France this year, said Clerc.
“Bridget Jones’s Baby” is currently tracking at $121 million worldwide. Studiocanal will open it in Germany on Oct. 20. Japan still has to bow of other major territories