Two of this year's high-profile Cannes competitors, Francois Ozon's Swimming Pool and Lars Von Trier's Dogville, may have come away lacking awards but both have shown they don't lack audiences as they launched in multiple French-speaking territories last weekend.
Swimming Pool dived into second place in France where the thriller sold 297,591 tickets through its first full week for Mars Films - approximately $1.7m.
Playing on 360 prints the film scored a strong average of $4,588. Paris saw Ozon's latest swim away with 107,345 admissions from 42 screens.
However, Swimming Pool's performance was unable to match Ozon's previous two titles. Last year's 8 Women (8 Femmes), also distributed by Mars Films, opened to 1.01m admissions from 493 screens while 2001's Under The Sand (Sous Le Sable), distributed by Haut et Court, scored a superior screen average to Swimming Pool when it opened on just 98 screens to sell 154,347 tickets. 8 Women sold 3.7m tickets in total in France. Under The Sand sold 682,700.
Swimming Pool, which stars previous Ozon collaborators Charlotte Rampling (Under The Sand) and Ludivine Sagnier (8 Women, Water Drops On Burning Rocks) also launched in Belgium where it claimed fourth place for ABC. The French-UK co-production took $94,433 (Euros 80,079) from 21 screens for a healthy $4,497 print average.
The French-speaking region of Switzerland also recorded strong numbers with local distributor Filmcoop taking $48,594 (SFR 62,735) from just nine screens for a powerful average of $5,399.
The film opens in the German-speaking region of Switzerland on July 31 and is followed by Russia, where it is handled by Intercinema Art Agency, on June 1. After opening on limited release for Focus Features in North America on July 4, Swimming Pool reaches Germany (Constantin) on Aug 14 and the UK (UGC Films) on Aug 22.
It seems unlikely to achieve the $40m-plus that 8 Women has grossed internationally, but a set of promising starts suggests another hit for Ozon.
Dogville also showed some strength. Les Films du Losange recorded 122,090 ($677,600) in ticket sales from 198 screens in France, while a five-day weekend take of $52,581 (Euro 44,589) from 10 screens in Belgium provided Alternative Films with a mighty $5,258 screen average - bettered only by The Matrix Reloaded.
Monopole Pathe handled the film, which features Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, James Caan and Lauren Bacall, in French-speaking Switzerland where it grossed $35,555 (SFR 45,901) from four screens - an average of $8,889 per screen. The drama opens in the German-speaking region on Oct 2 but launches next in Von Trier's native Denmark (June 4).