Batman Begins may have punched its way to impressive first-weekfigures Europe-wide, but in France it was beaten to the top spot by amulti-lingual sequel about soul-searching twentysomethings.

Russian Dolls, Cedric Klapisch's follow-up to L'AubergeEspagnole (also known in other territories as The Spanish Apartment,Europudding and Pot Luck) registered 662,329 admissions duringits first week from 550 screens, an admissions average of 1,204 per screen.

In comparison, Warner Bros'Dark Knight harnessed only 452,777 admissions from a wider 770-screen rollout,an average of 588 admissions per screen. Both films were released on June 15.

Like L'Auberge Espagnole,which was released almost three years earlier, Russian Dolls has asimilar mix of European actors including Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Cecile deFrance, Kelly Reilly and Kevin Bishop.

Generally praised bycritics, it is tipped to deliver 3m admissions by the end of its theatricalrun, a figure broadly in line with its predecessor.

French distributor MarsDistribution, which is handling Russian Dolls, can also expect a boostfrom France's three-day Fete Du Cinema. The exhibition promotion, which beganyesterday, allows cinema-goers to buy one full-price ticket, then attend any other film they like for Euros 2 ($2.5).

On Monday, France's exhibition watchdog, the FNCF, which oversees the event, said this year's promotion had attracted 1.15m moviegoers on Sunday, a 23% drop-off on the first day last year. Aside from Russian Dolls and Batman Begins, other popular films included Madagascar, Monster-In-Law, The Amityville Horror, The Interpreter and Cold Showers.