Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatre drew a phenomenal 2.96 million admissions during its first five days on release in France, breaking the all-time record previously held by another French film (and another sequel) Taxi 2, which saw 2.95 million tickets sold.
Pathe Distribution released the Asterix & Obelix sequel on a massive 957 prints (also a record) on Wed Jan 30. The title, which is the most expensive French-language film ever ($42m), still has a race on its hands to beat Taxi 2 for the best first full week's record - the Luc Besson-produced action title generated 3,478,000 admissions on 831 prints in its first week after being released on March 29, 2000.
Mission Cleopatre, which stars Monica Bellucci alongside the original film's leads Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu, had already attracted a massive 629,000 admissions on its opening day (compared to 427,000 tickets sold in 1999 for Asterix & Obelix Contre Cesar) but failed to break Taxi 2's record of 759,000 admissions. Taxi 2 sold over 10 million tickets in total, the first Asterix sold 8.5 million.
In only five days, the Pathe title has already bettered the first week's sales of many French and foreign blockbusters, including La Verite 2 (2.8 million admissions from 827 prints), the first Asterix (2.7m from 780 prints), The Visitors 2 (2.66m from 612) and Harry Potter (2.3m from 851).
Mission Cleopatre also opened at the top of the chart in Switzerland at the weekend where it took a four-day gross of $437,268. Distributed by Monopole Pathe Films the comedy played on 23 screens for a huge screen average of $19,012.