Released on Sept. 28 by Mars Distribution, “Penny Pincher” has grossed an estimated 17.7 million Euros ($19.5 million) from 2.8 million admissions, and currently ranks as the third highest-grossing French film of the year, behind a pair of comedy franchises, “Camping 3” and “Les Tuches 2.”
Meanwhile, TF1 Studio, which handles international sales on the film, has sold it across most territories, including Australia (Vendetta), Latin America (California), Korea (Cinelux), Spain (Vertices), China (Lemon Tree), Israel (Lev Films), Poland (Monolith Films), Portugal (Lusomundo), Former Yugoslavia (Blitz ), and Greece (Rosebud). Wild Bunch Germany, Italy’s Bim, Pathe in Switzerland, and Alternative Films in Belgium were among the first distributors to board the film.
Written by Laurent Turner and Nicolas Cuche, “Penny Pincher” stars Boon as a talented violinist who can’t have a regular social life due to his immense greed. His daily routine is shaken up by the arrival of a teenage girl claiming to be his daughter. Paris-based Jerico produced the film with Mars Films.
Sabine Chemaly, who handles sales on “Penny Pincher,” said the film marked the first comedy directed by Cavaye, who is best known for helming action thrillers such as “Point Blank,””Mea Culpa,” and “Anything for Her.” Chemaly also said the movie’s high concept has triggered remake interests from U.S. buyers.
A comedy fixture, Boon is best known for his roles in “Welcome to the Sticks” and “Nothing to Declare” which he directed, and more recently in Julie Delpy’s “Lolo.”
Along with “Les Tuches 2,” “Camping 3,” “The Visitors: Bastille Day,” and “Back to Mom,” “Penny Pincher” is the latest in a string of mainstream French comedies to punch in high numbers at the local box office. Indeed, only two of the 10 highest-grossing French-language films are not comedies: “Chocolat” starring Omar Sy and “Medecin de campagne” with Francois Cluzet.
Other French films that are performing well at the local box office include another comedy franchise, “Brice 3” with Jean Dujardin playing an under-achieving surfer dude. Meanwhile, “The Odyssey,” Jérôme Salles’s lushly-lensed biopic of French explorer Jacques Cousteau, is performing fairly well, having grossed an estimated 7 million Euros ($7.7 million) since its Oct. 12 release.
Bolstered by these homegrown pics, the French box office reached 171.14 million admissions during the first 10 months of 2016, a 4.5% year-on rise. The market share of French movies remained stable at 36.1% (compared with 35.4% in 2015) while American movies repped 53.5% of all admissions, on par with last year.
“Les Tuches” currently ranks as the year’s biggest hit with an estimated $32.5 million gross, followed by “Zootopia,” “Deadpool,” “The Revenant,” “The Jungle Book,” and “Ice Age: Collision Course.”
TF1 Studio’s AFM slate included “Dr. Knock” with Sy, as well as Angelin Preljocaj and Valerie Muller’s “Polina.”