Two smaller French titles - Fabien Onteniente's comedy Jet Set and Lionel Delplanque's horror film Promenons Nous Dans Les Bois - have been the hottest tickets in France for the week ending June 20.
Jet Set, a fish out of water tale, has attracted a smash 428,000 admissions in its first week. The film was already a hot seller in Cannes - handled worldwide by Hilltop in association with France's Timing, it sold extensively at the Marche, including the US to Miramax. The positive buzz prompted its French distributor, Bac Films to give it a wide release (nearly 500 prints) and a strong promotional campaign.
Promenons Nous Dans Les Bois, a French take on Scream, is aimed at a teenage audience. Released by Pathe Distribution, it drew 170,000 admissions in its first week, overturning the conventional wisdom that made-in-France genre fare is doomed to failure.
Both titles were released a week before the yearly La Fete du Cinema (June 25-27) to make the most of the promotional event.
Both will face strong opposition in UIP's Gladiator, which was released June 19, on a Tuesday instead of the traditional Wednesday opening, in order to avoid the Euro 2000 crush.
The Ridley Scott title, which benefited from a huge 679-print opening and a largely positive welcome from the French critics, already attracted a strong 118,000 admissions on its first day. The positive word of mouth and the Fete will do the rest.
Frederic Garson's Luc Besson-produced The Dancer, released by ARP Selection on a strong 389 prints, is also doing well, with over 200,000 admissions and ranking seventh in its second week.