Anatomy Of A Fall_dir by Justine Triet

Source: Cannes Film Festival

‘Anatomy Of A Fall’

The August 2023 box office in France reached 16m admissions, up 1.6% on the pre-pandemic 2017-2019 average for the month and a whopping 52.1% on the same month in 2022, fuelled by Barbie, Oppenheimer and Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winner Anatomy Of A Fall, released by Le Pacte.

As the month ended, Triet managed to break into the five-week “Barbenheimer” bonanza with Anatomy Of A Fall garnering 263,000 admissions during its opening five-day weekend and 346,500 admissions in its first week in theatres for local distributor Le Pacte.

Based on an average ticket price of €7.2 according to the FNCF,  this is approximately €1.9m and €2.5m respectively. 

While Warner Bros’ Barbie stayed top, Anatomy Of A Fall opened in second place, pushing Universal’s Oppenheimer moved into third.

Triet’s courtroom drama was the second-biggest opener in 2023 for distributor Le Pacte following another Cannes title, Maiwenn’s Jeanne Du Barry that opened with 356,000 admissions. 

Anatomy Of A Fall is the best box office performance of a French Palme d’Or winner since Blue Is The Warmest Colour which took a total of 323,000 ticket sales in 2013. Blue, like Parasite after it in 2019, went on to cross the 1m admissions mark in France. 

Anatomy, which stars Sandra Huller as a woman who may or may not have killed her husband, is showing on 379 screens in France. As the release date of August 23 was during the French summer holidays, Le Pacte created two different posters appealing to target arthouse audiences and genre audiences separately.

The film is gearing up to open in North America on October 13 via Neon, after pitstops at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Picturehouse Entertainment is releasing the film in the UK and Ireland in early November, and Oscar buzz is building. France announces its film for the best international film category on September 13.  

Blockbuster boost

Greta Garwig’s Barbie was the biggest film in August, with 2.4 admissions to give the release a cumulative 5.4m and approximate total gross of €39m; Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer (Universal) notched up 1.9m tickets sold, 4m to date and an approximate total gross of €29m. 

The August figures continue the post-pandemic momentum at the French box office. Since Jan. 1, 2023, local cinemas have racked up 124.9m admissions, up 28.3% on the first eight months of 2022, albeit still down 8.8% on the 2017-2019 average for the period. 

Despite a slow summer start with ticket sales that dipped in June to 11.8% less than the year prior, Barbie and Oppenheimer resuscitated it in July with 18.4m tickets sold, up 33.3% compared to the same month in 2022 and 10.1% more than the pre-pandemic 2017-2019 average. Year on year, ticket sales are up 15.8% at 179.6m, but still down 13.6% compared to the 2017-2019 average.

Overall, Warner Bros dominated the top slots with Barbie, followed by the August 2 release of The Meg 2: The Trench, the third-best performance for the month with 1.5m admissions. Sony’s Gran Turismo followed with 836,000 and Paramount’s Mission: Impossible 7 added 655,000 admissions in August to give it a total of 2.5m since its July release.

SND enjoyed a strong showing with French-language family-oriented sequels Les Blagues de Toto 2 – Classe Verte (640,800) and The Jungle Bunch: World Tour (L’as de la Jungle 2- Operation Tour du Monde) (523,000).

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir is continuing to perform well at home, adding 220,000 admissions in August to its 1.6m total. The film broke records with 318,000 tickets sold on its opening day, the best for any French animated title. It is screening on Netflix in several territories including the US, Canada and Latin America 

Also boasting a strong performance for the month was Quentin Dupieux’s Yannick with 316,000 tickets sold for Diaphana, a gross of approximately €2.3m.