Stephen Frears’ Cheri lost out to tough competition at the French box office this weekend despiteopening in France ahead of its US and UK release. The film scored 67,649 admissions from 133screens in its first five days to Sunday night, according to distributor Pathe.

Competing for attention at the box office over the five days were new entries Fast & Furious (836,203), local comedy Erreur De La Banque En Votre Faveur (209,654), Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea (186,326) and Benoit Jacquot’s Villa Amalia (86,633).

Distributed by Pathe in France and the UK, Cheri, which stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend, will go out via Miramax in the US in June on a limited run. Pathe, which is also handling international sales, will release it in the UK in early May.

Frears has a mixed track record in France. His highest grossing film locally remains 1993 Hero, starring Dustin Hoffman, which attracted 1.73 million moviegoers. Prior to that, he had a big hit with his version of Dangerous Liaisons – also starring Pfeiffer – selling nearly 1.7 million tickets in total, according to CBO Boxoffice.

More recently, his acclaimed The Queen ultimately sold 932,895 tickets. In its first five days, it garnered 252,212 admissions on 212 copies. That film was released in October 2006 a month after the UK release and about a week after its US debut.

Other recent Frears titles have hovered around the 300,000 admissions mark following their runs. Mrs Henderson Presents, also released in 2006, attracted 59,686 moviegoers in its first five days and went on to bring in 263,154 admissions on 85 screens. In 2003, Dirty Pretty Things, which starred local favourite Audrey Tautou, picked up 82,877 admissions in its first five days on 165 screens reaching 291,139 in total.