Woody Allen has always seen a strong following in France. Indeed when he made the unprecedented decision to present his latest film, Hollywood Ending, at this year's Cannes Film Festival in person he told reporters, "The French were my first supporters and have always been immensely generous toward me."
Now that generosity is noticeable once again as Hollywood Ending lauds it over the rest of the French chart, with the obvious exception of Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones. This week (ending May 28) the comedy dropped off a paltry 26% from its opening week, selling 192,078 tickets from 313 prints - equivalent to $921,974.
Notably, when the film opened in the US on May 3 it scored a three-day opening of $2m at 765 theaters for an average of $2,638. In comparison France's opening week results of 260,804 admissions ($1.25m) provided a per screen average of $4,050.
Hollywood Ending, which stars Allen alongside Tea Leoni, Debra Messing, George Hamilton and Treat Williams, has already sold 452,882 tickets ($2.2m) in France after just two weeks and looks likely to be Allen's strongest performer for some years (see chart below). The film has seen 191,609 admissions from 47 screens in Paris alone. It is distributed in France by Bac Distribution which will also handle Allen's next release Anything Else, starring Allen, Christina Ricci and Jason Biggs, in France next year.
Allen's biggest French success in recent years was Everyone Says I Love You (1997). The musical comedy, which featured one of the director's highest profile all-star casts including Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton, Natalie Portman and Goldie Hawn, sold over 1.5 million tickets in France. Everyone Says I Love You's success was also mirrored internationally where it was one of Allen's most successful films, grossing nearly $25m. It took a further $9.7m in the US.
Hollywood Ending is also performing well in other territories. In the French-speaking region of Switzerland the film has grossed $119,543 (SFR 188,998) after 11 days on release on just 7 screens. Matching France, the film dropped off only 26% from its opening weekend of $58,716. Distributed by Monopole Pathe the film will open in the German-speaking region of the country on Nov 7.
Belgium saw Hollywood Ending open on May 22 for Cineart to take $30,435 (Euro 32,992) from 10 prints in five days. The film managed $17,913 in Brussels alone.
Hollywood Ending is scheduled to open in Russia on Sept 5 and for A-Film Distribution in The Netherlands on Sept 26. The film was sold to distributors in South Africa and the former Yugoslavian states of Serbia and Montenegro during Cannes. International sales are handled by Capitol Films, which also handles Anything Else. Hollywood Ending has grossed $4.7m after four weeks on release in the US for DreamWorks SKG.
Woody Allen Films in France 1996-2002
Title(French release)/Total admissions
Everyone Says I Love You (Feb 12, 1997)/1,552,586
Deconstructing Harry (Jan 21, 1998)/1,281,026
Mighty Aphrodite (Feb 14, 1996)/1,063,526
Small Time Crooks (Dec 6, 2000)/1,056,575
Sweet And Lowdown (Jan 26, 2000)/765,384
Celebrity (Jan 27, 1999)/738,306
The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion (Dec 5, 2001)/723,533
Hollywood Ending (May 15, 2002)/452,882*
* Still on release.