45,000people took advantage of free screenings of Claude Lelouch's Les Parisiensin France on Friday.

The freescreenings were paid for by the director himself in an effort to combatdreadful reviews from most of France's leading media outlets.

On Monday, Lelouch spoke tothe press and said that the free screenings had personally cost him Euros150,000.

Estimates released byLelouch's company, Les Films 13, say that about 45,000 people benefited fromthe free tickets available on Friday. The total Wednesday to Sunday takeaveraged out at about 16,000 admissions per day.

Lelouch said, "I think that itwill take three or four days since word of mouth is very very long to getgoing."

Thedirector did admit, however, that: "Forty Lelouch films in forty years is alot. Maybe people are just tired and so maybe it's logical that people are fedup with me telling them the same stories."

Les Parisiens will remain on 400 screens through the next week.